According to a bombshell revelation, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has used his extensive network of strategic investments and political ties to have enormous influence over AI and public policy in Washington, D.C.
The nonprofit advocacy group Bull Moose Project, which works to cultivate America First leaders and policies, spent months digging through Schmidt’s financial statements, tax records, company paperwork, and other available public sources. The organization published a paper detailing its findings on Thursday.
The study claims that Schmidt has established an “oligarch-style empire” to affect government action.
From 2001 to 2011, Schmidt served as Google’s CEO. After that, he became the company’s chairman and remained in that role until 2015. The parent firm of Google, Alphabet, employed him as executive chairman from 2014 to 2018 and then again from 2018 to 2020, with his role transitioning to technical adviser after that.
Under Schmidt’s leadership, Google significantly increased its lobbying efforts, opening an office in Washington, D.C., and hiring its first full-time federal lobbyists.
Schmidt does not have any lobbyist registrations to his name. However, the study claims he effectively changed government policy to benefit his investments.
He has led several influential organizations that have shaped American policy on AI and other technological and military fronts. From 2016 to 2020, he presided over the Defence Innovation Board at the Pentagon, and from 2016 to 2018, he led the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI). Throughout the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations, Schmidt has been active on government boards and commissions.
Schmidt’s time as commission head does not appear to be marred by unethical or illegal behavior. Records available to the public also reveal that he has fully complied with all reporting and disclosure mandates. Government ethics advisers, however, have noted that Schmidt had conflicts of interest due to his interests while serving as chairman of the NSCAI.
The Bull Moose Project claims that Schmidt’s wide-ranging connections indicate a complex conflict of interest.