Consumer group calls for investigation of Google's no-bid fed contracts
Search engine firm is alleged to have won work at DHS, FCC without competition
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jan 25, 2011
A consumer group is urging Congress to investigate whether Google might have benefited inappropriately in contracting and special deals with federal agencies.
The Consumer Watchdog group on Jan. 24 sent a copy of its report, "Lost in the Cloud: Google and the U.S. Government,” detailing several allegations to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The report raises concerns about “possible special treatment or conflicts of interest” at the Homeland Security Department, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Federal Communications Commission and NASA.
“In recent years Google has landed contracts with at least 25 federal agencies, contracting databases show,” the report said. “While the value of those contracts is currently only a little over $40 million, Google has made numerous inroads in Washington since the arrival of the Obama administration in 2008, positioning the company for major inside-the-Beltway growth in the years to come,” it added.
Among the allegations contained in the report are:
- Google is accused of inappropriately benefiting from an agreement with NASA to use the agency's Moffett Airfield, near Google headquarters, for its private jets.
- Google is alleged to have received no-bid contracts at DHS and the FCC despite privacy concerns raised by officials at those agencies.
- Google is alleged to have a”potentially conflicted” relationship with the National Security Agency because NSA has legal powers that could force Google to hand over private information about its users. At the same time, Google should cooperate with NSA cybersecurity efforts.
Google executives and Issa were not immediately available for comment.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.