Petitions with 230,000 signitures have been delivered to Google asking the company to stop supporting ALEC, which it joined this year just as 60 other corporations cut their ties with the right-wing extremist organization.
Google is a bright light in the corporate world taking strong advocacy positions on climate change and renewable energy and walking the talk on those positions by investing heavily in the field – some $1 billion since 2010. It’s an innovator on energy efficient data centers, uses green building practices extensively, serves organic food in its cafeterias, all of which is actively opposed by ALEC.
This year, Google tied for first place for leading the tech industry on addressing climate change.
So it crushes our trust when they simultaneously fund a slew of organizations – ALEC is one of many – that are working relentlessly to prevent action on climate change and obliterate the renewable energy industry.
In its blog, Google says, "Why are we making these investments? It’s simple: we believe in a clean energy future, and we think that companies like ours can help make it happen," says Kojo Ako-Asare, head of corporate finance for Google. "We invest in these projects because they make business sense, because they help put more renewable energy on the grid and because they have a positive impact on the local economies where they operate."
Google has extensively mapped a changing planet to bring peoples’ attention to climate change:
"Google should Google ALEC’s agenda. Funding right-wing extremists at ALEC is a guaranteed way for Google to undermine its own admirable clean energy goals. It’s like building a new house only to set it on fire after defunding the fire department," says Michael Brune, Executive Director of Sierra Club.
"Google’s support for ALEC is part of a disturbing embrace of the climate denial machine by a company that professes to fight global warming," says Brad Johnson at Forecast the Facts. "It may be time to pronounce Google’s famous ‘Don’t Be Evil’ motto dead."
Next year, ALEC has its sights on killing state Renewable Portfolio Standards, state net-metering laws, the Northeast cap-and-trade program (RGGI), and federal level restrictions on power plant emissions.
Who’s Who List of Right-Wingers
This year, organizations that received “substantial” funding from Google for the first time include Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union (best known for its CPAC conference), and Heritage Action – the political arm of the Heritage Foundation that led the charge to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act.
All these groups are heavily supported by the Koch Brothers.
Google’s PAC, called Google Inc. Net PAC, contributed to Ted Cruz’s Senate campaign and already contributed to his next senate race even though it’s five years from now.
As for why it supports Grover Norquist’s "no taxes ever" pledge, to "shrink government to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub," that’s pretty clear: Google creatively shields some $2 billion a year from global taxes, reports Bloomberg. and is holding $33 billion offshore to avoid US taxes.
The company even sponsored a recent fundraiser for the Federalist Society, a network of right-wing judges and lawyers that includes Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas was the guest of honor at that event, for which Google was listed as a top-tier “gold” sponsor. Google names the Federalist Society on its list of groups receiving its most substantial grants in 2013, reports the Center for Media & Democracy.
Sure, Google would say it also funds progressive groups and after all, it’s just looking after its business interests. But "there really aren’t two proportionate sides to the facts about the climate changes that are underway, as to whether working people should be paid a living wage, and whether corporations should have to pay taxes just like working people do. By funding extreme groups on the right under the guise of a false equivalency, Google is enabling groups that seek to undermine government," counters Lisa Graves, Executive Director of Center for Media & Democracy.
"Political spending for corporations is purely transactional. It is all about getting policies that maximize profitability, so even ostensibly hip companies like Google invariably spend lavishly to support groups and politicians that pursue decidedly anti-democratic policy outcomes. It is why sane democracies strictly regulate or even prohibit such spending, regarding it accurately as a cancer for democratic governance." notes Bob McChesney co-founder of the media reform group Free Press and author of How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy.