Apr 22, 2016 ยท 3 minutes

Pierre Omidyar is just trolling you now. 

How else to explain the bombshell investigative report just published on The Intercept, the politics site 100% owned and controlled by the billionaire eBay founder?

"Google’s Remarkably Close Relationship With the Obama White House, in Two Charts" reads the click-baity headline. And indeed the two charts do show that a large number of Google staffers have held high level meetings at the White House during the Obama administration. 

The piece goes on to explain that:

Over the past seven years, Google has created a remarkable partnership with the Obama White House, providing expertise, services, advice, and personnel for vital government projects...

The Intercept teamed up with Campaign for Accountability to present two revealing data sets from that forthcoming project: one on the number of White House meetings attended by Google representatives, and the second on the revolving door between Google and the government.

If any of that seems slightly familiar, it might be because two years Pando published a very similar story about how tech billionaires have been pouring through the doors of the Obama Whitehouse. 

As I wrote at the time, one billionaire was a particularly frequent visitor.

[A]ccording to records made available under Obama's 2009 transparency commitment, [he] has visited the Obama White House at least half a dozen times since 2009. During the same period, his wife, who heads [his personal foundation], has visited 1600 Pennsylvania Ave at least four times, while [his organization's] managing partner, Matthew Bannick, has visited a further three. In all, senior [foundation] officials made at least 13 visits to the White House between 2009-2013. (In fact the logs indicate that, on several occasions, [he] visited the White House more than once in the same day. 

Moreover, this same tech billionaire was so close to the State Department that, as Mark Ames reported, his foundation co-funded with the State Department "pro-democracy groups" who were later involved in the Ukraine revolution. 

Can you guess the name of this tech billionaire, who somehow doesn't warrant a single mention in The Intercept's story?

Yup! Pierre Omidyar, owner of the Intercept. 

As I reported, Omidyar considerably out-White Housed most other tech leaders...

Even compared to other major tech leaders, Omidyar is a special case. LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman visited the White House twice during the same period, as did Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. Omidyar also beat out Marissa Mayer (5), Eric Schmidt (5), John Doerr (4), Dick Costolo (3), Evan Williams (3), Jack Dorsey (2), Larry Ellison (1) and poor old Reed Hastings who wasn't invited at all, until this week. According to records, other people not important enough to make it through the door include Pando investors Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel.

Amusingly, when we published our report, Omidyar supporters --  including reporters at the Intercept -- were quick to dismiss the correlation between White House visists on influence. Just because Omidyar spent a lot of time at the White House doesn't mean his publication would be unduly influenced when deciding, say, which of its giant cache of Snowden documents to release, and when.

Somehow, though, the White House's impact on Google executives is completely different. From today's Intecept special report:

The information, Weismann said, “will help the public learn more about the company’s influence on our government, our policies, and our lives...”

The obvious question that arises is: Can government do its job with respect to regulating Google in the public interest if it owes the company such a debt of gratitude? 

Actually, that's not the obvious question. The obvious question is just how stupid does the Intercept think its readers are?