The Mercury News: Google ‘Preferred Partnerships,’ Embeds Move Digital Ads Deeper Into Politics

Last March, the American Action Network, a dark money organization associated with House Speaker Paul Ryan, announced it had entered into a “preferred partnership” with Google. Its sister super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, also signed the deal.

“We are thrilled to partner with AAN and CLF once again for the next two years,” Google’s head of conservative advertising, Lee Dunn, said in a press release.

The Mountain View-based web giant would provide the organizations with enhanced polling data, analytical support, and a discount on YouTube advertising for its promotion of the Republican political agenda and the party’s congressional candidates.


“This is a really concerning phenomenon that is new and unique to this digital advertising space,” said Brendan Fischer, a lawyer at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C. “These companies are building relationships with legislators and positioning themselves to be able to influence legislators, and these same legislators are going to be regulating Facebook and Google in a lot of areas. So that means the interests of candidates and these digital platforms are aligned in a way that may be contrary to the interests of the public as a whole.”

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