Google is setting up a lobbying operation in Washington and collecting lobbyists and public relations consultants faster than, well, you can search for links to "Jack Abramoff."
Even while they are newcomers to Washington, they have apparently learned the lessons of the K Street Project -- the Republican effort to force businesses to hire only Republican lobbyists and to make donations to GOP candidates and committees, and to fill the major lobbying firms with Republican staffers from Capitol Hill.
According to the New York Times, Google has hired Podesta Mattoon and DCI. Podesta Mattoon is a bipartisan firm ("buy-partisan"?), but the lead partner at the firm apparently handling Google's account will be former Gingrich staffer Lauren Maddox. At DCI, Stuart Roy, recently of Tom DeLay's staff, will handle Google's PR: "DCI, Google officials say, will help it establish links to Republicans". And, Google would "search" for "a political director, probably a Republican" according to the Times.
Google will have to scrub its more liberal image, which will be hard, given its "cache" service. For example, the firm's motto -- "Don't be evil" -- may not go over too well in some DC quarters, nor will its $361,294 in donations since 2001, with all but roughly $10,000 going to Democrats or their allies.
Mostly, I'm just disappointed. Not because of the GOP-leaning tilt in how they've chosen to play the game. But because they think they have chosen to play it as it exists rather than fight to change it to something better.
Citizens ought to demand that Google fight to change the game.