Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has ties to a non-profit that pays the salaries of dozens of White House science and tech advisers, the Washington Examiner reported. This raises questions about Schmidt's relationship with President Joe Biden's administration and Big Tech at large.
The connection comes from the Federation of American Scientists, which funds at least 24 employees as a nonprofit and think tank. It's ostensibly set up as an advisory organization on issues related to technology and cybersecurity, according to Politico.
The White House positions through FAS are funded by Schmidt Futures, which was founded in 2017 by the tech mogul and his wife, Wendy. This backdoor arrangement tied to the former Google boss has serious implications.
Questions about the cozy relationship between the Biden administration and Big Tech are already circulating. However, Schmidt has been personally attempting to make inroads into setting science policy.
Schmidt has become a major promotor of artificial intelligence, and the funding comes at a time when the government mulls regulation over privacy concerns. However, a spokesperson defended the relationship and insisted everything was above board.
"Eric, who has fully complied with all necessary disclosure requirements, is one of many successful executives and entrepreneurs committed to addressing America’s shortcomings in AI and other related areas," the spokesperson claimed in a statement. The representative also defended the practice of placing hand-picked fellows into key roles in the area of policymaking.
"While it is appropriate to review the relationship between the public and private sectors to ensure compliance and ethics oversight, there are people with the expertise and experience to make monumental change and advance our country, and they should have the opportunity to work across sectors to maintain our competitive advantage for public benefit," the statement asserted. Still, these experts are privately funded by people with an interest in policy outcomes.
The White House also insists that there is nothing untoward about this arrangement and Schmidt's involvement in it. "Neither Eric Schmidt nor the Federation of American Scientists exert influence on policy matters," a representative from the administration claimed.
"Any suggestion otherwise is false. We enacted the most stringent ethics guidelines of any administration in history to ensure our policy processes are free from undue influence," the spokesperson added.
However, there are other indications that Big Tech and the Biden administration have ties that run deep. Recently, it has come to light that the Biden administration successfully colluded with social media platforms to censor free speech, Fox News reported.
House Oversight Republicans sent a letter to the bosses at Facebook and Twitter for more information relating to the two-way relationship that led to censoring under the "guise" of stopping "misinformation" from spreading. In a letter Wednesday, lawmakers pointed to the "Twitter Files" for proof that such a relationship existed.
Government officials were reportedly in contact with Twitter personnel to cherry-pick posts and accounts to throttle at their whim. During the 2020 election, Yoel Roth, Twitter's former head of safety, met weekly with the Department of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the FBI for that purpose.
Mark Zuckerberg, head of Meta, formerly Facebook, has also admitted to complying with an FBI request to suppress a key news story that broke late in the 2020 election. The platform infamously banned the since-verified story about scandalous material found on the abandoned laptop belonging to Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden.
There are already too many instances of technology companies doing the bidding of partisans in government and vice versa. However, Schmidt's financial involvement in installing advisers close to the president is particularly egregious this time.