Ex-Google CEO funneled money into the White House science office
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s foundation poured money into the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy over the past year, according to a report from Politico. The foundation’s close ties with the office raised ethics concerns with internal watchdogs.
Schmidt held a number of roles at Google and parent company Alphabet, including CEO, executive chairman, and technical advisor. He stepped down from that last role in 2020. Now, he sits on the boards and invests in tech companies, including a number 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.
Schmidt’s foundation, Schmidt Futures, paid salaries for OSTP employees, Politico reported. An unpaid consultant in the office was also employed by Schmidt Futures. A number of employees were offered Schmidt Futures fellowships, which fund travel to conferences. Some withdrew in response to ethical concerns. Some officials at the office also worked at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, where Schmidt is the chair of the board.