The White House has a reputation for being remarkably cozy with Google lobbyists, but apparently this relationship also extends after-hours.
The National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, has released a video showing top Obama officials flocking to Google’s White House Correspondents’ dinner party earlier this month.
Party attendees included David Edelman, the White House senior adviser for internet innovation and privacy; David Simas, White House director for political strategy and outreach; and Valerie Jarrett, White House senior adviser.
The White House has held more meetings with lobbyists for Google than any other top company, and nearly 250 employees have reportedly gone through the "revolving door" between the Obama administration and the technology company.
Watchdogs have questioned the close relationship between government regulators and the internet giant, saying that the Obama administration has turned a blind eye to Google’s data mining activities.
"The Google team has a lot to celebrate. So does the Obama team. In fact, the two are almost indistinguishable," said National Legal and Policy Center president Peter Flaherty. "Nearly 250 individuals have gone from Google to government, or vice-versa. Never before has one company so thoroughly permeated the upper echelons of government."
"When the party is over, however, it's a little scary for you and me," added Flaherty. "The government is supposed to protect our privacy, and Google makes money violating it."