The New York Times: Big Tech Getting Cozier with Biden Campaign

August 11th, 2020 1:50 PM

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s tech policy committee has come under fire even from The New York Times for having suspicious ties with Big Tech companies. 

The Times released a report criticizing how “his campaign and transition teams have welcomed allies of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple onto its staff and policy groups.” Biden’s campaign has “quietly welcomed onto its staff and policy groups people who have worked with or for Silicon Valley giants, raising concerns among the industry’s critics that the companies are seeking to co-opt a potential Biden administration,” The Times explained.

Some people mentioned have deep ties with Big Tech and with the political establishment itself. Avril Haines, who is now leading Biden’s transition team, served as an Obama national security and intelligence official. Haines reportedly worked as a consultant for “the data-mining company Palantir and WestExec Advisors, a firm that represented a major tech company it hasn’t identified,” The Times added.

Other examples included people such as Cynthia C. Hogan, a “former White House lawyer for Mr. Biden who is helping to lead his vice-presidential selection process” who also served as a “lobbyist and government affairs executive at Apple.” The Times also listed Matt Perault, who “testified as director of public policy for the company during a congressional antitrust investigation last year before departing for academia.” 

The significant number of people getting closer to Biden who either work for Big Tech, or whose think tanks have been funded by Big Tech has raised some eyebrows. “The tech policy committee,” was described by The Times as, “part of a vast network of thousands of policy advisers assembled by the campaign.” The Times allegedly obtained a list of rules sent out to groups advising the campaign explicitly telling them: “Simply put, do not talk to the press.” The phrase “do not talk to the press” was allegedly written in boldface, a fact which shows the campaign would rather these ties be kept under wraps. 

The article made clear that Big Tech’s ties to Biden’s campaign are not to be underestimated:

“One of Mr. Biden’s closest aides joined the campaign from Apple, while others held senior roles at firms that consulted for major tech companies. And a nearly 700-person volunteer group advising the campaign, the Innovation Policy Committee, includes at least eight people who work for Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple.”

Interestingly enough, even the people who are, in-theory, pushing for Biden to be tougher on restricting Big Tech have received money from Big Tech companies themselves. One such example was American Antitrust Institute president and antitrust subgroup member Diana L. Moss, who called for “very strong leadership on antitrust and competition, and some strengthening of the laws.” Her think tank in particular has reportedly “accepted funds from Amazon and Google.”