WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) — A consumer group says the White House must distance itself from Google while the company is the subject of a federal antitrust investigation.
Consumer Watchdog, in a letter delivered Friday, asked White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, 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.
In addition to an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, the Justice Department is reviewing Google's $400 million purchase of online advertising firm Admeld and is reportedly looking into allegations that Google profited from selling online ads to illegal online pharmacies.
Despite the investigations, 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, Politico reported.
"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," said the letter from Consumer Watchdog, a vocal critic of Google.