The Swamp: Ken Buck’s Chief of Staff Unsuccessfully Sought Google Money Before Turning Anti-Google

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) is attempting to position himself as the voice of bipartisan action against the tech giants, working with the Democrats on a range of bills sold to the public as efforts to rein in Silicon Valley. But just two years ago, his chief of staff, Garrett Ventry, was reportedly pitching his D.C. lobbying skills to Google.

Rep. Buck has been a leading voice in support of Democrat-led efforts to regulate Big Tech, including the widely condemned Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would make it easier for Big Media companies like CNN and News Corp to demand special favors from the tech giants.

Joining forces with the Democrats on the House Antitrust subcommittee, Rep. Buck presents himself as a champion against the power of the tech companies. His willingness to work with congressional Democrats  (none of whom have ever suggested they will address the top conservative concern regarding big tech, censorship) has won him plaudits from the liberal media.

The Verge, a Vox Media-owned tech news site, recently called him the “new face of Republican antitrust.” But, according to a report in Politico, the current chief of staff to the so-called “face of Republican antitrust,” Garrett Ventry, was hoping to lobby for Google.

Together with the current head of the Internet Accountability Project, Mike Davis, Ventry pitched his services to Google in 2019.

Via Politico:

Davis and Ventry offered to act as Google’s GOP communicators in a meeting with the company’s outside lawyers in May 2019, offering to help mend its relationship with conservatives, according to the three people, who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.

At the time, Google was under increasing fire from the GOP, as then-President Donald Trump hammered the big tech companies for allegedly censoring conservatives and as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) used his new perch in the upper chamber to offer bills that would crack down on the search company’s conduct. The Justice Department was also laying the groundwork for a major antitrust investigation of Google, a fact that would become publicly known at the end of that month.

The two men, who were at the beginning stages of forming a PR shop after they left the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Google’s outside lawyers Susan Creighton and Josh Soven that they could help with press relations and relationship-building within the GOP. The meeting was arranged by former Federal Trade Commission member Josh Wright, who worked with Creighton and Soven at the law firm Wilson Sonsini at the time.

After the meeting, Davis sent a follow-up email to Creighton leaving open the possibility of next steps. Ultimately, Google did not retain their services.

While Ventry declined to comment to Politico, Davis said he “dodged a bullet” by not working for Google, and claimed, “that was back before we knew how bad Google really was.”

Google’s wrongdoing was, however, widely known in the conservative movement by 2019.

In addition to high-profile criticism of the company from President Trump, the previous two years had seen a slew of major stories in the conservative media highlighting Google’s lurch towards leftist bias, including:

  • The Silent Donation, an internal email chain from inside Google revealed by Breitbart News and Tucker Carlson Tonight, showing Google bussed voters to the polls in 2016 and specifically targeted demographics they believed to favor Hillary Clinton.
  • The Google Tape, a 1-hour recording of Google’s leading executives denouncing the election of Donald Trump as “offensive” and promising to use the resources of their company to make the populist movement a “blip in history.”
  • The Good Censor, an 85-page briefing document prepared by Google researchers admitting that the company, and other Silicon Valley tech giants, made a “shift towards censorship” after 2016. The leaked document was later read out at a Senate hearing by Sen. Ted Cruz.
  • Google’s anti-Breitbart plot: leaked emails showing efforts by Google employees to deny advertising revenue to Breitbart News on the grounds of “hate speech.”
  • The firing of James Damore for challenging progressive narratives, together with a slew of leaks from inside the company, with multiple employees attesting to an atmosphere of hostility towards conservatives and conservative values inside the company.
  • James Damore’s class-action lawsuit against Google, in which he was joined by multiple other former Google employees, who alleged a hostile workplace environment at the company due to their non-progressive beliefs.

It’s not impossible that some people failed to notice the storm of leaks and bombshells about Google before 2019. But, especially if you were in conservative circles, you would have had to try quite hard!

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.

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