A report on Alphabet employee political donations could light a fire under Trump's war on Google

  • Employees at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have donated $US15.5 million to Democratic candidates and causes since 2004, compared with just $US1.6 million to Republicans.
  • That’s the finding of a study by GovPredict, a startup backed by the prestigious Silicon Valley tech incubator Y Combinator.
  • It could light a fire under US President Donald Trump’s theory that Google has a liberal bias.

More than 90% of the political donations made by Alphabet employees have gone to Democrats over the past 14 years, according to a study by a political data startup.

The findings from GovPredict, which has backing from the prestigious Silicon Valley tech incubator Y Combinator, could light a fire under US President Donald Trump’s theory that Google has a liberal bias.

Democratic candidates and causes have received $US15.5 million from Alphabet staff members since 2004, according to GovPredict, while just $US1.6 million went to Republicans.

The most pronounced discrepancy came in 2016, the election year in which Trump won office. Alphabet employees funded Democratic causes to the tune of nearly $US5.9 million, while Republicans received $US403,000.

GovPredict produced this graph showing its findings:


Eric Schmidt, Alphabet’s former executive chairman, was said to be the largest political donor over the period, funding organisations of both stripes.

GovPredict produced its data after analysing the election contributions made by Alphabet staff members, tracking the various subsidiary names used in their filings, including Google, YouTube, and Google Ventures.

GovPredict then categorized, as Democrat or Republican, the 1,105 unique committees to which Alphabet employees made donations. Most were labelled by the Federal Election Commission, while on others GovPredict had to make its own call.

The findings were presented in a blog post by GovPredict CEO Emil Pitkin – the first in a series of posts examining the political preferences of major US companies.

Pitkin is a former Harvard graduate and launched GovPredict at the Y Combinator demo day in 2015. The company is also said to have $US120,000 in seed funding from Y Combinator, which has backed startups such as Airbnb, Reddit, and Stripe.

Lighting a fire under Trump’s war on Google

GovPredict’s blog post on Alphabet was first spotted by PJ Media, the right-wing news aggregator that last month asserted that 96% of the search results for “Trump” on Google News were links to stories from liberal media outlets.

Its findings, gathered from an unscientific study, were carried on Fox News not long before Trump used the same 96% figure in a tweetstorm about Google.

“Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good,” the president said. “They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!”

GovPredict’s findings are unlikely to calm Trump’s concerns. And there are clues that Republicans are taking his theory on Google seriously, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions planning to convene a meeting to discuss whether social-media platforms are purposefully stifling free speech and obstructing competition.

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