Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"Google’s Secretive and Deep-Pocketed Foe Heavily Funded by Gates, Hewlett Foundations"

From the San Jose Mercury-News' SiliconBeat:
For the second time in three months, the shadowy Campaign for Accountability has attacked Google.
First, at the end of April, the group launched “The Google Transparency Project” with a report on the revolving door between Google and the federal government. On Tuesday, Campaign for Accountability put out a new report suggesting Google-funded academics were influencing federal policymaking on the sly. 
SiliconBeat called up Campaign for Accountability with regard to both reports, and both times asked who funded it — certainly a reasonable question of an organization purportedly dedicated to accountability. The answer was essentially the same Tuesday as it was in April. 
“This is something that we have not disclosed in the past and we do not disclose it,” deputy director Daniel Stevens said Tuesday. Donors wouldn’t donate without anonymity, he suggested. Stevens declined to answer when asked whether any funding comes from companies competing with Google. 
Secrecy, for this group, goes deeper than its funding. It markets itself online as a “project that uses research, litigation and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life.” Nowhere does it reveal that it’s part of an extremely deep-pocketed public-interest group, New Venture Fund, that took in $178 million in donations in 2014, the most recent year for which data was available. (Full disclosure: To find out who was behind the Campaign for Accountability, SiliconBeat became a donor to it; for our $1 gift, we received a tax-deduction receipt from New Venture Fund.) 
New Venture Fund is heavily supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Between 2014 and the present, the Gates Foundation has given the group $94 million and the Hewlett Foundation has given it $17 million. The Ford Foundation has given NVF $12 million since the start of last year....MORE