Consumer Watchdog on Friday said the White House's close relationship with the Google is inappropriate, as the Internet search company is currently under review by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice, a report said on Friday.
WSJ reported that FTC is set to launch a probe on Google and will be served with a civil subpoena to examine the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's market power in its search advertising business.
The FTC will be looking to see if Google sends users to its own network of services more often than its rivals. In Europe, the European Commission began investigations against Google on similar charges in November 2010.
Watchdog urged Kathryn Ruemmler, the White House Counsel, who is responsible for overseeing ethics policy, “to rule that the president and other members of the administration must distance themselves from Google until the investigations are concluded,” Politico reported, citing a letter delivered to the White House on Friday.
The justice department is currently reviewing Google’s purchase of online advertising firm Admeld for $400 million. Besides, the search engine is facing allegations for selling online ads to illegal online pharmacies.
Regardless of the allegations, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and Vice President Marissa Mayer were guests at last month’s State Dinner to honor German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the report said.
“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,” the report said, quoting a letter signed by Consumer Watchdog’s President Jamie Court and Privacy Project’s Director John Simpson.
Many Google critics have questioned the relationship between Schmidt and Obama and expressed concerns that the company was receiving special treatment in some areas, particularly broadband policy.
Schmidt has been maintaining close relationships with President Barack Obama for several years, and is currently serving on the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.
“Nonetheless, given the current circumstances, the president and top administration officials must distance themselves from Google until the serious allegations against the company are resolved,” the letter said.