In a startling revelation, a report has claimed that former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s foundation poured money into the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, including paying salaries of key employees.
Politico reports that Schmidt had a close relationship with the president’s former science adviser, Eric Lander, and other Biden appointees.
His charity arm, Schmidt Futures, indirectly paid the salaries of two science-office employees, including current chief of staff, Marc Aidinoff, who is now one of the most senior officials in the office, the report said late on Monday.
“The chief innovation officer at Schmidt Futures, OSTP alum Tom Kalil, also remained on Schmidt’s payroll while working as an unpaid consultant at the science office for four months last year until he left the post following ethics complaints,” the report mentioned.
The foundation’s close ties with the office has raised ethics concerns with internal watchdogs.
Schmidt held a number of roles at Google and parent company Alphabet, including CEO, executive chairman, and technical advisor.
He stepped down from that last role in 2020, and now sits on the boards and invests in tech startups.
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directs science funding and helps steer artificial intelligence (AI) policy.
According to the report, Schmidt has long sought to influence federal science policy, dating back to his close ties to the Barack Obama administration.
Schmidt, estimated to be worth $23 billion, founded Schmidt Futures with his wife to support and promote emerging technologies, such as a recently announced $125 million fund for artificial intelligence.
An OSTP spokesperson said that the organisation works with many outside groups and that the legal office reviews any potential ethical conflicts.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)