TTP Report: Ro Khanna’s Academic Roundtable Stacked with Big Tech-Connected Scholars


Contact: Michael Clauw,, 202.780.5750

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a non-profit watchdog group that runs the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), published a report detailing how a recent academic roundtable on AI organized by Silicon Valley Rep. Ro Khanna was dominated by academics with ties to Big Tech–despite the event’s billing as a counterbalance to tech industry influence. Khanna said his goal with the February event was to bring together the “leading minds in AI, technology, economics, ethics to bring some objectivity” to the subject, rather than “technology leaders at corporations telling us how to regulate technology.” Yet, TTP’s review found that 15 of the 22 academics who participated in the event have either worked for or consulted for Big Tech companies or are linked to organizations that are funded by Big Tech companies or tech executives.

Read TTP’s report here.

CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “Certainly, many of the experts that participated in the roundtable bring valuable viewpoints to the discussion, but especially with events like this that are framed as counterprograming to corporate-led conversations, transparency is essential. Undoubtably, there will be many more events like this in the months and years to come, and we hope to see greater care around disclosing potential Big Tech connections.”

Rep. Khanna has often advocated for giving constituencies other than Big Tech a seat at the table on how AI is developed, but he has also staked out certain positions on the technology that align with Big Tech’s interests. Last year, he introduced a bill that directs the White House Office of Management and Budget to guide federal agencies on incorporating “latest available technology” (read: AI) into their website search functions. He also sponsored a measure to set up a working group of countries in the Five Eyes intelligence alliace to “leverage commercially available AI technologies” to advance their joint activities.

This report is just the latest TTP effort to shine a light on Big Tech’s influence on academia and civil society. Last year, TTP published a database of donations that Meta and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative have made to colleges and universities around the country. TTP also maintains a tech funding database which tracks which nonprofits, trade organizations, and civil society groups have received funding from Big Tech companies.

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.