News: Investigation reveals funding of US political campaigns as part of strategy.
Google may have extensively funded election campaigns for US officials as part of a coordinated campaign to defeat an EU antitrust case.
The search giant has increased efforts to fend off a potential $6 billion fine from the European Parliament for monopolistic practices, according to an investigation by the Guardian.
Among other efforts, it has been funding the election campaigns of American politicians who have placed pressure on the EU.
For example, Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the US House judiciary committee which wrote to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) criticising the antitrust case, has received extensive campaign funding from Google.
The committee as a whole received more than $200,000 in campaign funding during the 2014 election cycle.
The investigation also revealed that Google CEO Larry Page met the European Commission chief privately in 2014 and discussed the antitrust case, although he had been warned that this would be inappropriate.
Google has also increased its lobbying spending more generally, employing former EU officials as in-house lobbyists and funding research favourable to its position.
The case first opened in November 2010 when the Commission decided it would investigate Google’s dominance in the European search advertising market, as Google accounts for 90 percent of search in Europe.
Google is accused of manipulating search results to direct consumers to its own products and services rather than acting as a neutral search platform.
The case is not unprecedented in the technology industry; Microsoft was investigated by the European Commission for 16 years over abusing its dominant position and was fined £1.7 billion.