The surprising answer from Google on its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

It can be hard to get a big corporation to go on record about anything – much less something controversial.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by the answer I got at Google’s annual shareholder meeting when I asked cofounder Larry Page why the company is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization that has publicly opposed many of Google’s positions and interests.

After receiving applause for my question, Google’s head lawyer David Drummond – who was helping Page to answer questions – responded that the company’s membership in the U.S. Chamber is something senior leadership debates a lot. He added that while there are some things that the U.S. Chamber is good for, there is a lot of stuff it does that Google doesn’t agree with.

He concluded by saying that, “while we are members for now, it’s something that we do review.”

Keep up the heat

Obviously there are some doubts at Google as to the value of its affiliation with the U.S. Chamber.

This is all the more reason why we need to keep pushing the company to end its membership.

Recently, U.S. Chamber Watch and our allies from the Corporate Reform Coalition gathered more than 300,000 consumers signatures on a citizen’s petition and got 26 investor groups to send letters asking Google to live up to its “Don’t Be Evil” slogan by ending its ties with the U.S. Chamber.

These consumers and investors are concerned that Google is privately undermining many of the policies it has publicly supported –from green energy to Internet privacy – by being a dues-paying member of the U.S. Chamber.

From the answer I got at the shareholder meeting, it sounds like there are those in leadership positions at Google who feel the same.

We will continue to promote our citizen’s petition and hope you will pass it on to your friends.

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Getting Google to leave the U.S. Chamber would be an important victory because it would send a signal to other companies that being successful doesn’t mean that they have to support the regressive policies of the U.S. Chamber – policies that hurt our economy, our environment, and our democracy.

Jake Parent is the coordinator of Public Citizen’s U.S. Chamber Watch. To learn more about Chamber Watch, follow @uschamberwatch on Twitter and sign up for email updates.