TTP Report: Eric Schmidt Pushed the CHIPS Act, Now Stands to Benefit from It
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2023
Contact: Michael Clauw, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), the nonprofit watchdog group that runs the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), released a report detailing how former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his proxies played a major role in shaping legislation to boost the U.S. semiconductor industry—legislation that could directly benefit Schmidt’s network of investments. TTP’s report outlines Schmidt’s deep involvement in the development and passage of legislation that would ultimately become the CHIPS Act. At the same time, Schmidt has a range of investments that are well-positioned to take advantage of the new stream of government funding created by CHIPS.
Campaign for Accountability Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “We’ve seen for some time that Eric Schmidt—a billionaire who’s never held elected office—has been granted an abnormally large influence over the direction of the U.S. government’s emerging tech policy. Now, with the government pouring billions of dollars into semiconductors, one of Schmidt’s priorities, it’s more important than ever to examine how he stands to personally gain from the policies he’s promoting.”
TTP’s review of White House meeting records, public comments, nonprofit documents, lobbying disclosures, campaign finance data, and other public records reveals that Schmidt’s involvement in the development and passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, which President Biden signed last year, goes far beyond what has previously been reported.
The records show that Schmidt personally consulted with lawmakers on the legislation that became the CHIPS Act and may have even inspired the original bill’s title. They also show how Schmidt and his allies mounted a campaign to push the measure through Congress and established close ties with the Department of Commerce, the agency now in charge of distributing billions of dollars in CHIPS Act funding. Meanwhile, elements of Schmidt’s portfolio appear to be positioning themselves to take advantage of the vast pool of money, including by making strategic investments in semiconductors.
Schmidt’s role with the CHIPS Act adds to growing questions about the billionaire’s efforts to influence U.S. defense and national security policy in ways that could advance his financial interests. TTP has previously documented Schmidt’s deep ties to America’s Frontier Fund, a nonprofit venture fund designed to direct U.S. defense investments, and his use of government staffing programs to place acolytes in key federal agencies.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “Eric Schmidt talks a good game about national security and competing with China, but when policymakers bring him to the table on major tech issues, it’s critical for them to understand that he’s also advocating for policies that could benefit his own personal network of investments.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.