"The BlackRock Transparency Project, an initiative from the Campaign for Accountability, a watchdog organization focused on public corruption, seeks to demystify the firm’s “access and influence” business model. BlackRock forges close relationships with governments to outpace competitors, attracting special benefits and avoiding onerous regulatory standards. Since 2004, researchers note, BlackRock has hired at least 84 former government officials, regulators, and central bankers worldwide. This can quickly bleed into conflicts of interest and official corruption."
New Report Details How BlackRock Built its Mexican Infrastructure Business Through Cronyism, Corruption and Conflicts of Interest
On September 26, 2018, CfA released a new report, "The New Corporate Colonialism," which comprehensively documents BlackRock’s efforts to expand its infrastructure business in Mexico through aggressive courtship of Mexican political leaders and organizations mired in corruption and conflict of interest scandals.
"The Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog organization, released a report in August explaining companies such as Facebook and Google embed employees in political campaigns to inform campaign strategy."
On September 12, 2018, CfA Executive Director Daniel Stevens discussed Google’s influence in Washington with Tucker Carlson on his Fox News show, Tucker Carlson Tonight.
"Foreign propaganda from Russia and Iran spreading on Google's platform is also a concern for lawmakers. In July, Google rolled out stricter policies for political ads. Yet watchdog group Campaign for Accountability found it could still buy ads with a Google AdWords account it set up using the name and details of a notorious Russian propaganda group -- ads it paid for with rubles."
"'There's an empty chair next to you from Google, they're not here today. Maybe it's because they're arrogant,' said Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) blasting the search engine. Rubio then referenced a recent report showing how the group Campaign for Accountability was able to pose as the Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency and set up political advertising on Google’s ad network."
On Wednesday, September 5, 2018, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing on foreign influence campaigns' use of social media platforms. Several senators criticized Google for not attending the hearing, while Facebook and Twitter sent top executives. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) cited CfA's research in their criticisms of Google, specifically CfA's successful effort to pose as a Russian troll farm to buy Google ads.
"Nationally, Campaign for Accountability, a Washington-based group critical of solar, has tracked a sharp rise in company complaints by consumers in the past five years. 'Often the target customer who is ripe for abuse is somebody who is retired, has a fixed income, and who is taken in by the promise of a constant electric bill,' said its executive director, Daniel Stevens. 'The individual will wind up being charged more for their electric costs than they were before they installed solar panels. It’s one of the clearest ways that these companies mislead customers.'"
“Google has admitted it’s trying to stop this activity when it comes to issue ads but its clear there’s a huge gap in their policing of this content,” Stevens told BuzzFeed News. “It feels like a flagrant abdication of responsibility and it’s in-line with the trend we see from Google — they're very hesitant to crack down on things that are a threat to their business model.”