A recent Wikileaks release shows emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta, which reveal an extremely close relationship between the Clinton campaign and Eric Schmidt, Alphabet’s executive chairman. As Donald Trump cuts into Hillary’s lead in the polls, is Schmidt’s extensive help ethical? How does this affect Alphabet?
Eric Schmidt To Be Clinton’s “Top Outside Advisor”
Presidential campaigns are always filled with supporters donating time and money. But when one of those supporters is the Executive Chairman of the second largest company in the world, that time and money may give one campaign an unfair advantage. And that’s exactly what’s happening in the 2016 presidential campaign with Hillary Clinton and Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.
In 2014, Eric Schmidt backed a startup called Timshel which helped develop much of the technology behind Clinton’s campaign website, including sign up and donation functions. In addition to that, Schmidt also sent a long memo with campaign advice and said he was ready to fund, advise, and recruit talent for the campaign. The Clinton campaign set up its headquarters in Brooklyn after Schmidt suggested an outer borough in New York to attract top coders. By his logic, San Francisco was too expensive and DC lacked the talent pool. And that advice has paid off for the Clinton campaign as they continue to recruit top talent to their team.
While offering advice isn’t illegal, is this situation ethical?
Schmidt is a longtime democrat who has publicly endorsed Clinton in the 2016 election. However, Schmidt and Alphabet directly benefit from their relationship with the Democratic Party and the Obama administration. In 2012, Google came under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for antitrust concerns. Despite FTC staff recommending charges be brought against Google, charges were dropped after Google made voluntary changes.
And now Schmidt is doing anything he can to help Clinton win the White House. A democrat in office keeps Alphabet in good standing. Elections generally don’t affect large companies. They adapt to the policies of the new president. However, if Trump becomes president, that could signal trouble for the internet giant. Google controls 75% of the internet search market. An offended and angry President Trump could direct the FTC and Justice Department to reopen antitrust probes into Google’s search business, which could be viewed as a monopoly. For Schmidt and Alphabet, putting Clinton in office is a priority.
This team may be built since 2014 when Hilary Clinton became one of Talks at Google with Eric Schmidt. Watch the full video here!
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With the election less than a week away, wall street is bullish on Alphabet (GOOG). However, that can change quickly with Trump in office. Shares of Alphabet are down on the news, but the election will decide which way Alphabet stock goes. If Clinton wins, expect shares to spike. A Trump presidency would see shares plummet down.
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