This post previously appeared on Business Insider.
By Jim Edwards
Silicon Valley’s forays into D.C. lobbying are getting clumsier. First it was Facebook, which ended up supporting oil drilling in the Alaska wilderness (because it needed allies for its immigration reform push). Now it’s Google, which held a fundraiser earlier this month for Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, who believes that climate change is a “hoax” and a “conspiracy.”
By amazing coincidence, Inhofe has also received a perfect rating from the Big Oil lobby group the American Petroleum Institute, and he has received $2.4 million in campaign contributions from the energy industry over the course of his career, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Some people — environmentalists, obviously — are furious. One blogger has “quit” Google in protest.
Google told the San Francisco Chronicle that it wanted to cement its relationship with the state because it has operations in Oklahoma:
“We regularly host fundraisers for candidates, on both sides of the aisle, but that doesn’t mean we endorse all of their positions. And while we disagree on climate change policy, we share an interest with Senator Inhofe in the employees and data center we have in Oklahoma.”
“While we don’t agree with Senator Inhofe on several issues, we agree with him on many, such as open and free competition for defense contracts, for enterprise services… We engage on Google issues because we are a home-state employer.”
The controversy has drawn attention to the strange bedfellows Google and Inhofe make. Google’s corporate motto is “Don’t be evil.” Inhofe most recently made headlines for suggesting that the families of victims of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre should not debate gun control. (“See, I think it’s so unfair of the administration to hurt these families, to make them think this has something to do with them when, in fact, it doesn’t,” he said.) Inhofe has also suggested that the Obama Administration has been buying up bullets to keep them out of the hands of gun owners.
Inhofe has enjoyed the attention he’s gotten from the Google event. He sent an email that says, “Apparently this upset a few liberals … Join our fundraiser and upset the environmentalists by donating $25.”