There had never been a science office until Joe Biden created one. It’s now a part of the cabinet. The Secretary who ran the office, Eric Lander, had to go because he was harassing his employees. But that’s not even the strangest part about the office.
What’s strange is that the former CEO of Google seems to have had his hands all over the office. And Biden staff officials have said that Eric Schmidt, who has never worked for the United States government, had been given “unusual” levels of access. What in the world is going on?
Lander allowed Schmidt’s foundation to cover officials’ salaries – and ethical flags were raised by the office’s general counsel. Still, it was allowed to happen because, apparently, Biden’s administration can break all of the rules and get away with it.
The science office was given power and access that no other office had – and it seemed that Schmidt was allowed to have the kind of influence that a tech billionaire could only dream of.
The foundation, which has been controlled by Schmidt, was allowed to shape the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy over the past year. This is a private individual who was not voted into office, nor was he appointed by the president.
At least a dozen of the officials working within the White House office have been associates of Schmidt at one time or another – and some are even current employees. All of this has been discovered during interviews with staff members as well as internal emails that were collected by POLITICO.
Schmidt and Lander maintained a close working relationship so that the influence could take place. Schmidt Futures, the charity arm of the former CEO’s foundation, was responsible for paying for the salaries of two employees within the science office. One of these employees has now risen to become one of the senior-most officials since Lander resigned.
Additionally, the chief innovation officer at Schmidt Futures, Tom Kalil, served as an unpaid consultant within the science office until he finally had to leave due to ethics complaints.
So, we know that the science office is riddled with the fingerprints of Eric Schmidt – a former tech CEO who wants to have his way with the government office. The question is, why is it being allowed to happen? If we wanted Schmidt running that office, he should have simply been nominated for the role.
Schmidt has wanted to gain access to federal science policy since the days of the Obama administration. However, White House watchdogs raised countless red flags. It seems as though he’s been biding his time. He saw the weakness, otherwise known as Joe Biden, and reached in for the kill. He’s got his hooks into the office so deep now that it may be impossible to fully remove them. After all, current and former employees work for both Schmidt and the White House office.
The reason ethical flags are being thrown left and right is because of the financial interests that Schmidt holds. He sits on the board of quite a few tech companies, and he has a 20 percent stage in a DE Shaw hedge fund. Oh, and he’s also responsible for launching a data science company that has helped a number of Democratic campaigns, including that of Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.
To say that Schmidt shouldn’t be anywhere near federal science policy is an understatement.
Here’s where things really get interesting. Lander had to leave because of his bullying. However, it may be that the bullying was a result of too many people not connected with Schmidt who were raising concerns. This includes Rachel Wallace, then-general counsel for the office.
Wallace has come forward as a whistleblower to say, “I and others on the legal team had been noticing a large number of staff with financial connections to Schmidt Futures and were increasingly concerned about the influence this organization was able to have through these individuals.”
It seems that this entire office needs to be shut down so that Schmidt can get as far away from White House policy as possible.