Silicon Valley works behind the scenes to ensure that senior positions are managed by President-elect Biden’s lesser known, but still vital high-tech allies, and even push back the growth of large-scale technology from progressive groups and regulators.

The Biden transition team has already had more technical directors in its institutional review team than technical critics. It also added some officials from large high-tech companies who are the biggest contributors to the campaign.

According to four people familiar with the matter, executives and employees of Alphabet’s Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and other technology companies are working hard to select candidates for senior positions in government agencies.

Many of these executives’ target agencies include the US Department of Commerce, the Office of the US Trade Representative, and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs-an important agency under the White House Office of Management and Budget, responsible for drafting policies affecting the technology industry. According to sources, the State Department and the of Defense.

Many company executives, who, in some cases, contributed to raising funds for the Biden campaign or those who have contact with the president-elect’s transition team, and a candidate in the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to promote contacts with the industry Huge commercial interest-Both companies are investigating whether Big Tech has abused its market power. According to sources, the attention of progressive interest groups and members of Congress to these institutions may make Silicon Valley’s success more difficult.

To be sure, there is no formal process for company executives to pass these names and recommendations to the transition team. Cameron French, Biden’s transitional spokesperson, said that members of the institutional review team and future administrative appointees will be committed to implementing Biden’s policy vision.

“Every member of the Biden-Harris transition and the new government will have problems, including the host of technology stocks, aligning the values ​​of the president and the vice president with the elected president,” he said.

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Facebook and Microsoft declined to comment. Amazon’s head of public policy and communications, Jay Carney, told Reuters that Amazon did not attempt to hold anyone from the company. Carney said: “Any suggestion to the contrary is completely wrong.”

Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said: “As a company, we did not make any recommendations and were not aware of any such exchanges.”

Seek influence

Researchers, lawyers and consultants tracking the transition or working with the team told Reuters that the move was part of an effort by officials from many large technology companies to influence future decisions. They also ensure that the Biden administration does not constrain the thinking of the progressive Democratic Party and the growing antitrust movement, and they have been pushing for higher scrutiny of such companies.

Max Moran, a researcher on the Revolving Door Project, said: “By 2020, directly appointing the CEO or senior management of a technology company into your cabinet is bad optical technology and bad politics.” He Added that Big Tech’s allies have begun to become candidates for the Biden position.

For example, according to three sources, Google’s former chief executive Eric Schmidt (Eric Schmidt), a Titan giant in Silicon Valley, has been making personnel recommendations for the appointment of the Department of Defense because the company tried Conduct military contracts and defense work.

Schmidt chaired the National Artificial Intelligence Security Council (NSCAI). His vice chairman of the committee, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work (Robert Work) briefed the Biden transition team on national security issues. According to three sources, Schmidt’s name also appeared in discussions leading Biden’s White House technical working group, and this proposal was opposed by progressives.

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According to two sources, one of Schmidt’s former high-level defense posts is Christopher Kirchhoff, who is an assistant to the current chairman of the Obama Administration’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and is currently at Schmidt. Futures company work. According to two sources, Schmidt also promoted the position of Jared Cohen, the chief executive officer of Jigsaw, a puzzle technology company, an independent division of Google. Cohen served in the State Department.

A spokesperson for Eric Schmidt declined to comment. An NSCAI spokeswoman said that any work done by Schmidt and Work in their personal capacity has nothing to do with NSCAI.

Similarly, two Amazon officials have landed on the review team of the president-elect agency, a spot for the State Department and the Office of Management and Budget.

According to sources responsible for the transition, Amazon executives are now pushing for the role of ally within the Biden administration. Three sources said the resulting names include Indra Nooyi, the former chairman of Pepsi, who now serves as a director of Amazon’s board of directors, whose name has been floated to run the Commerce Department.

Many sources said that unlike other companies, Facebook has made important progress in the Biden transition team.

For example, former Facebook executive Jessica Hertz (Jessica Hertz) was Biden’s general counsel during the transition. Former Facebook project manager Austin Lin works in the institutional review team of the President’s Executive Office. Former Facebook board member Erskine Bowles has advised the transition team with another former Facebook board member Jeff Zients, who has now been selected as Biden’s COVID-19 czar.

According to four sources, another ally of some large technology companies is Biden’s choice of Secretary of State Anthony Brinken, who has ties to both Amazon and Google. Google is a client of WestExec Advisors founded by Blinken. Brinken also helped Jay Carney, Amazon’s public policy and communications director, be hired by Joe Biden’s media team in 2008.

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Google’s Castaneda said that the company’s relationship with West Exec lasted for a month in 2018 and the company did not retain any members of the company. Carney declined to comment. WestExec Advisors declined to comment. Brinken did not respond to a request for comment.

Four sources said that Biden’s transitional institutional review team discussed the names of technology companies at the meeting. They said that these teams made some recruitment suggestions.

More and more pushbacks

Although Silicon Valley occupies a larger number of seats, the of progressives is noteworthy.

In November, 32 antitrust, consumer rights protection organizations, labor organizations and related organizations wrote to Biden, asking Biden to reject the influence of big technology companies on his management.

Many of these groups are now uniting and advocating more forcefully. For example, several of these 32 are part of the new alliance, which aims to expand the number of groups concerned about the industry’s impact on the government. Alex Harman is responsible for overseeing the competition policy of the Citizens League (an advocacy organization of the league). He said that he has been meeting with Biden’s institutional review team for a clear purpose: to ensure that the government does not recruit Such personnel.

He added that Biden’s team has been listening to their concerns, but this is not a conversation. “They didn’t tell us what they were thinking, they were just asking us what our priorities were.”

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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