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Consumer Watchdog Asks White House Counsel to Rule that Administration Must Distance Itself from Google During Probes
Date:6/24/2011

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer Watchdog has asked the White House Counsel to rule that President Obama and other members of the Administration must distance themselves from Google while the company is the target of serious federal investigations, including a criminal probe into allegations the search giant profited from selling online ads to illegal pharmacies.

In a letter released today to White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, who is responsible for overseeing White House ethics policy, Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog president and John M. Simpson, director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan group's Privacy Project, noted that Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, and Marissa Mayer, a Google vice president, were both guests at the recent State Dinner honoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"It has long been a tradition to invite some business leaders to attend these White House functions. However, executives of companies under federal criminal investigation should not be invited while a major case is pending," they wrote. "Allowing such executives to hobnob at a gala White House event inevitably sends a message that the Administration supports them and undercuts the ability of federal investigators to proceed with their case in a fair and unbiased way."

Read Consumer Watchdog's letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrruemmler062311.pdf

Google is under criminal investigation into allegations that it profited from selling online ads to illegal pharmacies. These illicit pharmacies may violate U.S. law by peddling expired or counterfeit prescription medication, or selling medicine without a physician's prescription. Before the State Dinner Google had begun negotiating a settlement of the charges and had filed notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was setting aside $500 million – roughly
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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