Google builds up influence in Washington

Tech Culture

In its growing quest to peddle influence in Washington, Google has contracted with a lobbying firm that employs Josh Hastert, son of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert.

The search giant hired PodestaMattoon, a major Beltway lobbying force, sometime toward the middle of last year, though it's not quite clear when, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday. It paid the firm $40,000 between July and December 2005.

Last summer, the company brought on Alan Davidson, formerly of the Center for Democracy and Technology, to open a Washington policy shop and become the first and only registered lobbyist on its payroll.

The company's increasing involvement inside the Beltway is hardly surprising. Attempting to offset positions advanced by the big telecommunications companies and their historically gigantic purses, the company has been increasingly vocal to politicians about the need for mandatory Net neutrality principles.

And let's not forget that its activities in China have been the subject of major congressional scrutiny in recent months.

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