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Ex-Google CEO's fingerprints are all over Biden's science office.


Eric Schimdt
Eric Schimdt

According to a report from Politico, Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s foundation poured money into the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy over the past year.  The foundation’s close ties with the office raised ethics concerns with internal watchdogs.

Eric Schimdt held several roles at Google and  at parent company Alphabet, including CEO, executive chairman, and technical advisor, which he stepped down from in 2020. He's now part of a board that invests in tech companies, especially those focused on Artificial Intelligence. The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directs science funding and helps steer AI policy — one of the reasons Rachel Wallace, then the office’s general counsel, raised concerns about his financial involvement, according to emails obtained by Politico.

As reported by Politico, Schimdt Foundations, Schimdt Futures, paid salaries to OSTP employees. A number of employees were offered Schmidt Futures fellowships, which fund travel to conferences. An unpaid consultant in the office was also employed by Schmidt Futures. Some of them withdrew in response to ethical concerns. Some other officials at the office also worked at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, where Schmidt is the chair of the board.

Schmidt had also worked closely with Eric Lander, former director of the OSTP. Lander resigned in February after reports and “credible evidence” that he bullied some employees, including Wallace.

An unnames OSTP spokesperson said that the OSTP works with many external associations and that the legal office reviews any potential ethical conflicts.

Wallace, who was the head of OSTP's legal office and general counsil, told Politico she attributes Lander’s behavior to her concerns around Schmidt’s involvement. “I and others on the legal team had been noticing a large number of staff with financial connections to Schmidt Futures and were increasingly concerned about the influence this organization was able to have through these individuals,” Wallace told Politico.

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