July 23, 2012

Google Goes Out Of Its Way To Help Coal Lobby Target Congress

Google Goes Out Of Its Way To Help Coal Lobby Target CongressGoogle prides itself as a company that goes out of its way to address climate change. An entire website is devoted to Google’s efforts to achieve a “zero” carbon footprint, from energy efficient servers to CO2-reducing investments.

But Google’s green PR campaign doesn’t seem to be coordinating its message with Google’s DC advocacy and campaign office, which is known for courting influence by partnering with other lobbying shops with specialized Google products.

The National Journal is reporting that Google recently paired with a coal industry front group called the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. Google, for some reason, chose ACCCE as a client to test out new voter-targeting software and demonstrate the results:

Google brought what it calls its click-to-call technology to the table. ACCCE brought its 241,000 Facebook likes and what resulted, according to ACCCE’s senior VP for communications Evan Tracey, was a grass-roots lobbying campaign that generated 3,000 phone calls to senators.

That kind of response to a campaign, Tracey said, produced a quarter of ACCCE’s total advocacy on the effort, but for a fraction of the cost of traditional advocacy tools like TV ads and letter-writing campaigns.

Why is ACCCE targeting Congress? Despite the “clean coal” name, ACCCE is mostly focused on killing climate change policies, as well as other goals of the coal industry, including efforts to push back against the EPA’s new regulations curbing mercury and cross-state pollution, which would save thousands of lives. In fact, of the many polluter-funded fronts, ACCCE is one of the worst. During the Waxman Markey debate, the group forged letters of seniors and veterans to try to manipulate members of Congress against taking action to cap greenhouse gases.

Nonetheless, Google is bragging about its new partner.

“ACCCE’s campaign to do this is groundbreaking because they’re the first to use click-to-call advertising to connect Americans with their senators,” gushed Rob Saliterman, Google’s head of political ads in an interview with National Journal.