The National Pulse is today publishing a previously undisclosed “go to” list of “conservative” influencers that Big Tech firm Google uses to influence the political dynamics in Washington, D.C.
As the battle over Big Tech rages in Western capitals, The National Pulse was provided with an exclusive leak of the list of think tanks and activists who Google lobbyist Max Pappas reached out to on the back of the Federalist/Zero Hedge demonetization story.
Pappas – hired by Google in 2017 – took Google’s damage control messaging to nearly 100 influential figures on the right on Tuesday night.
The list (at the bottom of this article) includes key conservative influencers from major think tanks and publications – some of whom are believed to be beneficiaries of large Google donations.
Featured in the list are high-profile “conservative” organizations which solicit conservatives in the public for donations, all the while promoting Big Tech talking points, and/or taking grants from Big Tech companies which continue to censor conservatives online.
The Heritage Foundation, the CATO Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, R Street, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and more were named. The National Pulse reached out to both Google and Max Pappas before publication, though neither responded to our queries.
Some of these same influencers haven taken to social media in the past 24 hours to defend Google, or draw attention to the Google talking points on the back of the demonetization story.
The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) visiting scholar Mark Jamison tweeted ahead of the news an op-ed entitled “Big Tech is biased… and that’s a good thing”.
Big Tech bias is a good thing, but some of the techniques need work. #bigtech #antitrust #regulation https://t.co/3mFRRXBCeg
— Mark Jamison (@drj_policy) June 16, 2020
Jamison’s colleague at AEI, James Pethokoukis, appears to have taken his marching orders from Pappas’s email, hurriedly publishing an article on the AEI website endorsing Google’s actions, and claiming that “the ongoing conservative alarm about anti-conserative [sic] bias by America’s tech titans continues to fail that test [of reality]”.
In fact, Big Tech’s bias against conservatives is well documented.
Julian Sanchez – a CATO and Reason magazine contributor – stated “only conservative sites whine publicly about it, because other sites aren’t nursing a martyr complex”:
Basically all the supposed evidence for political bias on platforms turns out to be political asymmetry of whining once you scratch the surface even slightly.
— Julian Sanchez (@normative) June 16, 2020
CATO’s Matthew Feeney – director of the think-tank’s “Emerging Technologies” project – used the opportunity to attack Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Senator Tom Cotton, while defending Google:
This clip (which I found on Google-owned YouTube) shows that Carlson is confused about what he calls "free speech."
Sen. Lee seems to understand the Constitution doesn't allow Congress to bully companies at the behest of whining pundits. #Section230 https://t.co/k3Esi8fj3p
— Matthew Feeney (@M_feeney) June 17, 2020
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)’s Patrick Hedger, also a writer for the NeverTrump blog The Bulwark, took to the CEI website to defend a multitude of Big Tech companies.
He claims, despite evident monopolistic practices in the Big Tech sector: “these companies compete with one another in some way, suggesting that competition in the broader tech sector remains robust and lacking a justification for government investigation, let alone intervention.”
Hedger also pounced upon conservatives on Twitter:
The “actually“, anecdotal argument Hedger makes was never true, though it didn’t stop CEI’s Hedger digging himself deeper.
Mercatus’s Adam Thierer blasted conservatives who believe in regulating the tech sector, while Robert Winterton from an opaque group called ‘NetChoice’ based in a suite on K Street in Washington, D.C. attacked Sen Josh Hawley:
Any conservative should be scared of being able to sue over “unfairness.”
Sen. Hawley’s bill will be a huge gift to trial lawyers! https://t.co/Nkxwl85iLV
— Robert Winterton (@RobPWJ) June 17, 2020
His colleague Chris Marchese agreed on cue.
Jessica Miers of the TechFreedom organization – another “think tank” – tweeted her boss Eric Goldman’s article out, sneeringly entitled: “Americans would probably love Section 230… if they understood it.”
The cast of characters willing to do Google’s bidding – whether in libertarian circles or on the right proper – has grown in recent years as part of a concerted effort by Big Tech firms to buttress against real conservatives seeking to limit the power of faceless Silicon Valley censors.
In an oped by former FTC technologist Neil Chilson, the pseudo-rightist insists Americans should be grateful to Big Tech, even when being censored, because: “You can thank innovation for The Mandalorian and for the many ways we can stay in touch: Zoom video chats, Snapchat messages and Houseparty games. Because of American tech, we can connect even while social distancing.”
Chilson made no mention of Zoom’s links to the Chinese Communist Party, Snapchat’s airing of an interview with Dr. Fauci where he encouraging casual hook-ups in the middle of the pandemic, nor Mandalorian creator Disney’s “woke” politics.
Chilson works for the Charles Koch institute, though fashions himself as a representative of “Stand Together”, which itself appears to be a external operation of the Koch network.
A full list of Google lobbyist Max Pappas’s “go to” influencers appears below. The National Pulse asked both Google and Pappas if the list represents grantees of Google, but neither responded after almost a full day:
|Jennifer Huddleston||American Action Forum|
|Douglas Holtz-Eakin||American Action Forum|
|Sarah Hale||American Action Forum|
|Scott Fyall||American Enterprise Institute|
|Windle Jarvis||American Enterprise Institute|
|Matt Au||American Enterprise Institute|
|Michael Strain||American Enterprise Institute|
|Claude Barfield||American Enterprise Institute|
|Roslyn Layton||American Enterprise Institute|
|Jason Bertsch||American Enterprise Institute|
|Gus Hurwitz||American Enterprise Institute|
|Mark Jamison||American Enterprise Institute|
|Daniel Lyons||American Enterprise Institute|
|Bret Swanson||American Enterprise Institute|
|Shane Tews||American Enterprise Institute|
|James Pethokoukis||American Enterprise Institute|
|Bartlett Cleland||Innovation Economy Alliance|
|Brent Gardner||Americans for Prosperity|
|Billy Easley||Americans for Prosperity|
|Grover Norquist||Americans for Tax Reform|
|Katie McAuliffe||Americans for Tax Reform|
|Christopher Butler||Americans for Tax Reform|
|Lorenzo Montanari||Americans for Tax Reform|
|Alexander Hendrie||Americans for Tax Reform|
|Jeff Roe||Axiom Strategies|
|Norm Singleton||Campaign for Liberty|
|Julian Sanchez||CATO Institute|
|David Boaz||CATO Institute|
|Matthew Feeney||CATO Institute|
|Peter Van Doren||CATO Institute|
|Ike Brannon||CATO Institute|
|Walter Olson||CATO Institute|
|John Samples||CATO Institute|
|Alan Reynolds||CATO Institute|
|Tom Firey||CATO Institute|
|Harrison Moar||CATO Institute|
|Jesse Blumenthal||Charles Koch Institute|
|Neil Chilson||Charles Koch Institute|
|Taylor Barkley||Charles Koch Institute|
|Curt Levey||Committee for Justice|
|Ashley Baker||Committee for Justice|
|Phil Kerpen||American Commitment|
|Kent Lassman||Competitive Enterprise Institute|
|Wayne Crews||Competitive Enterprise Institute|
|Jessica Melugin||Competitive Enterprise Institute|
|Iain Murray||Competitive Enterprise Institute|
|Patrick Hedger||Competitive Enterprise Institute|
|Christopher Koopman||Growth Opportunity|
|Will Rinehart||Growth Opportunity|
|Dean Reuter||Federalist Society|
|Jon Staab||Federalist Society|
|Devon Westhill||Federalist Society|
|Alexander Biermann||Federalist Society|
|David Barnes||Americans for Prosperity|
|Tim Chapman||Heritage Action|
|Josh Arnold||Heritage Action|
|Amber Schwartz||Independent Women’s Forum|
|Carrie Lukas||Independent Women’s Forum|
|Patrice Onwuka||Independent Women’s Forum|
|Nicole Neily||Speech First|
|Tom Giovanetti||Institute for Policy Innovation|
|Wayne Brough||Innovation Defense|
|Aaron Ginn||Lincoln Network|
|Garrett Johnson||Lincoln Network|
|Zach Graves||R Street|
|Ryan Radia||Competitive Enterprise Institute|
|William Upton||Lincoln Network|
|Charles Sauer||Market Institute|
|Adam Thierer||Mercatus Institute|
|Brent Skorup||Mercatus Center|
|Anne Hobson||Mercatus Institute|
|Andrea Castillo||Mercatus Institute|
|Matthew Mitchell||Mercatus Institute|
|Andrew Moylan||National Taxpayers Union|
|Brandon Arnold||National Taxpayers Union|
|Pete Sepp||National Taxpayers Union|
|Genevieve McCarthy||National Taxpayers Union|
|Joe Coon||Niskanen Center|
|Jerry Taylor||Niskanen Center|
|Will Wilkinson||Niskanen Center|
|Brink Lindsey||Niskanen Center|
|Mike Godwin||R Street|
|Eli Lehrer||R Street|
|Thomas Struble||R Street|
|Arthur Rizer||R Street|
|Caleb Watney||R Street|
|Shoshana Weissmann||R Street|
|Charles Duan||R Street|
|Kevin Kosar||R Street|
|Peter Suderman||Reason Foundation|
|Berin Szoka||Tech Freedom|
|Dan Benavente||Tech Freedom|
|Ian Adams||Internation Center for Law & Economics|
|Ashkhen Kazaryan||Tech Freedom|
|Jim Dunstan||Tech Freedom|
|Scott Wallsten||Tech Policy Institute|
|Tom Lenard||Tech Policy Institute|
|Glenn Lammi||Washington Legal Foundation|
|Cory Andrews||Washington Legal Foundation|
|Casey Given||Young Voices|
|John O McGinnis||Federalist Society|
|William Shughart||The Independent Institute|
|Lindsay Craig||National Review Institute|
|Andrea O’Sullivan||James Madison Institute|
|Sal Nuzzo||James Madison Institute|
|Rea Henderman||Buckeye Institute|
|Robert Alt||Buckeye Institute|
|Asheesh Agarwal||Tech Freedom|
UPDATE: Heritage’s Rob Bluey issued the following statement to The National Pulse, essentially confirming the think tank receives Google funds while claiming it doesn’t impact their public policy positions (which is what corporates give think tanks money for):
“The Heritage Foundation doesn’t take marching orders from anyone. We always have and always will operate according to a core set of principles when evaluating policy proposals.
Donations have zero bearing on our policy positions. Heritage’s broad base of financial support ensures that our recommendations are never influenced by outside pressure.
The Heritage Foundation’s authority rests on the quality, rigor, depth, and independent nature of our research and analysis. Any suggestion to the contrary is false.
Heritage scholars have criticized Google and other technology companies for caving to the radical left, censoring Heritage content, and pursuing ill-advised policies. We will not be pressured or bullied by anyone as we continue to represent the interests of conservatives and all Americans.”