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News from the Goolag: Grande Prosecutor Macchiato

July 22, 2010

The public visitors log at the White House seems to have been the greatest boon for the coffee industry in quite some time.

The former worldwide head of lobbying for Google, Andrew McLaughlin, joined the Obama White House as a senior technology official–but he still appears to be kept very much “in the loop” on Google’s current lobbying activities by his former employer and Google’s lobbyists. How is this accomplished? By calls or visits to the White House? Nope.

It is accomplished by emails to his private email account–or rather Gmail account–, his official U.S. Government email account and by meetings in coffee shops near the White House. Now why would he do it that way? Because both parties did not want to have to explain a visit recorded in the visitor logs? Ya think?

Now why would that be? Read the new batch of emails between McLaughlin and Google lobbyists, Free Press, etc., and you’ll get the idea. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I think even the most stalwart defender of Google would have to admit that there’s something untoward going on at best and that the whole affair stinks to high heaven at worst. And this is just based on what has been disclosed. As one journalist wrote “Google is ‘Obama’s Halliburton’“.

McLaughlin is doing his President a disservice by continuing to hang on to his White House job. Nothing good will come of this. The National Legal and Policy Center has already called on the House Government Oversight Committee to get serious about this. It is only a matter of time until someone with subpoena power puts a microscope on this rats nest, if not a special prosecutor. In fact, according to the Washington Post, something of a food fight broke out at a Government Oversight Committee hearing yesterday among committee members demanding that McLaughlin come before Congress and explain himself and identify those who were protecting him. McLaughlin dodged the subpoena this time, but he won’t enjoy his double decaf soy latte forever.

And remember–these are crimes that could involve not just McLaughlin but those who were sending him the emails and sucking down the joe. Any lobbying reports filed on this stuff? Worth a look.

And then there’s McLaughlin’s boss, Beth Simone Noveck who didn’t show up for the House Government Oversight hearing. Ironically, this is the same Noveck who raised money for Lester Lawrence “AceLessig III’s abandoned run for Congress right around the time that Creative Commons Corporation got a major donation from a trust associated with a confessed felon. As the White House staffer said, “We’re not doing [Lessig] any favors but we’re doing one for ourselves and for future of politics and civil liberties in this country.” (See also, Lessig, The Starving Artist Canard.) Does this email episode not just drip and ooze irony from the fan of Mr. Clean?

Grande Prosecutor Macchiato. No decaf on this one.

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