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In a stunning new report, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is accused of amassing a vast network of strategic investments and political relationships, allowing him to exert significant control over artificial intelligence (AI) and public policy in Washington, D.C.
The Bull Moose Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating America First leaders and policies, conducted an extensive investigation into Schmidt’s financial disclosures, tax records, and business documents. The report, which was obtained by Fox News Digital, unveils the findings and highlights Schmidt’s puppet-master role in shaping the lives of the American public.
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According to the report, Schmidt has constructed an empire akin to that of an oligarch, meticulously designed to influence public policy. During his tenure as Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011 and later as the company’s chairman until 2015, Schmidt significantly expanded the company’s lobbying efforts. Google established a presence in Washington, D.C., and registered its first in-house federal lobbyists, transforming into one of the largest lobbying forces in the United States.
Although Schmidt himself was never registered as a lobbyist, the report asserts that he effectively altered government policies to favor his investments through the influential connections he cultivated via membership in various government commissions and boards.
One of Schmidt’s notable appointments was as chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board from 2016 to 2020. He also chaired the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), both of which play a crucial role in shaping U.S. policies related to AI, technology, and defense. Schmidt’s involvement in government commissions spans the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations.
Speaking at an NSCAI event in 2021, Schmidt revealed that the commission’s staff not only formulated recommendations but also drafted legislation, thereby exerting a significant impact on policy. He further hinted at the commission’s involvement in classified annexes to national security bills, shedding light on their covert operations.
Despite the lack of evidence indicating any unlawful activities or ethics violations on Schmidt’s part during his commission chairmanship, government ethics advisers have raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest arising from his investments. Walter Shaub, a senior ethics fellow at the Project on Government Oversight and former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, criticized Schmidt’s investment activities, stating that while they may be technically legal, they are not ethically sound. The report also highlights Schmidt’s continued influence in the AI space through his philanthropic nonprofit Schmidt Futures, which played a central role in the hiring process of a key Defense Department official.
The Bull Moose Project’s research revealed that Schmidt played a pivotal role in multiple venture capital firms, including First Spark Ventures, which had a portfolio comprising biotech and biomedicine investments. Schmidt’s appointment to the National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology drew backlash due to concerns about potential conflicts of interest. The report expresses apprehension regarding the absence of adequate safeguards against such conflicts and the ability of commission members to shape federal policies that may benefit them financially.
The Bull Moose Project went beyond its report and created an interactive map showcasing over 400 connections Schmidt has across business, government, academia, and other domains. The map raises questions about the revolving door phenomenon, wherein former high-ranking government officials transition into positions as lobbyists, consultants, and strategists, influencing public policy. Schmidt’s spokesperson declined to provide a comment on the report, while a source close to him dismissed it as baseless. However, the report contends that Schmidt has successfully positioned himself as a Washington insider, wielding his relationships with current and former government officials to great effect.
Notably, Schmidt has maintained close ties with individuals currently serving in the government, including officials in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) under President Biden. Politico reported last year that Schmidt’s influence pervaded the OSTP, with more than a dozen officials associated with him. The report also raises ethical concerns regarding Schmidt Futures indirectly paying the salaries of OSTP staffers, given Schmidt’s overlapping financial interests and the office’s responsibilities. Schmidt Futures defended its actions, emphasizing the chronic underfunding of the OSTP and its longstanding participation in private-public partnerships.
The Bull Moose Project argues that Schmidt’s extensive network epitomizes a multifaceted conflict of interest. It accuses him of making large donations in exchange for political appointments, crafting self-serving policies that become law, leveraging government-issued reports to promote his business interests, and securing federal contracts through his influential connections. The report concludes that the pieces of the puzzle point to an undeniable picture of conflict of interest and corruption in Schmidt’s dealings.