FTC: Chairman was unaware of Google’s donation to ceremony celebrating his work during investigation

FTC: Chairman was unaware of Google’s donation to ceremony celebrating his work during investigation ...

The FTC has responded to yesterday’s controversy regarding Google and its director stating that he knew nothing at the time of the donation in question. This implicitly states that the funds therefore had no impact on the decision of the agency regarding Google.

Yesterday it became known that Google donated $25,000 to Common Sense Media to help it put on an awards event that including the honoring of Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC, which at that time was investigating the search giant for possible antitrust violations involving how it ranked its own services among organic results.

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Google, in the view of TNW, came out on top of the investigation, with little more than a wrist tap. Response to the FTC’s decision drew the ire of Microsoft, for one.

Regarding the donation, TNW noted yesterday that it does not “indicate that Google intended the funds as a bribe or anything of the sort, however, the PR mess that this sort of coincidence evokes is not particularly savory.” We stand by that analysis.

The FTC reached out with the following comment this morning, attributable to its spokesperson Peter Kaplan:

“Chairman Leibowitz had no idea that Google was one of the many corporate contributors to the event until he read the article. But he is grateful and honored to accept the award from Common Sense Media, which does so much for kids and families and privacy.”

While the above situation isn’t pleasant for either party, there doesn’t appear to have been any sort of foul play either intended or affected. Google, which spends heavily on its lobbying efforts, would do well to be a bit more careful with where it deploys cash in the future.

Top Image Credit: HÄkan Dahlström

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