By Kevin Stocklin
In the midst of an ongoing lawsuit against the Biden administration alleging collaboration with social media companies to censor Americans, a new report has detailed the extent to which former Justice Department (DOJ) employees are now working at Big Tech firms.
The American Accountability Foundation (AAF) investigated the resumes of recent hires and found that more than 360 current employees of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook/Meta are former DOJ employees. Likewise, more than 40 DOJ employees, many of them in senior roles, previously worked at Big Tech firms.
According to the report, since President Joe Biden took office, Google hired 40 former DOJ staffers, Amazon hired 61, Microsoft hired 26, and Meta hired 53.
While staff often move between government and the private sector, “this case is different because unlike government and industry moving expertise back and forth (knowledge about procurement rules for example) what we have seen moving back and forth between DOJ and tech is a shared political agenda, specifically to silence conservative voices,” Yitz Friedman, AAF Communications Manager, told The Epoch Times. “Sadly, it is evidence that in the Big Tech community, corporate policy is the government’s policy.”
This concern is heightened by recent evidence of collaboration between the DOJ and Twitter to silence Americans, particularly regarding political speech.
After buying social media platform Twitter, Elon Musk released thousands of internal emails that allegedly showed collusion between Twitter and DOJ officials to censor speech, including banning a report by The New York Post prior to the 2020 election that reportedly incriminated then-candidate Joe Biden in illicit payments scandals.
‘Campaign of Public Threats’
The release of the “Twitter files” follows a lawsuit by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and former Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt that alleges illegal collusion between the Biden administration and Big Tech companies to suppress free speech.
In a November 2022 interview with The Epoch Times, Landry stated that, because of the First Amendment, “the government doesn’t have the ability to censor speech, especially political speech. And so they can’t go out there and force these companies to do it.”
Plaintiffs, in this case, filed a 364-page “finding of fact” document showing a “campaign of public threats against social-media platforms to pressure them to censor more speech on social media.” This document will be discussed in a Congressional hearing on March 30 on the “Weaponization of the Federal Government.”
“The DOJ is doing everything they can to scratch and claw and fight to keep us from getting any of this information … the U.S. Department of Justice and the Attorney General claim that there’s some sort of privilege to the information we’re looking for,” Landry said. “I would remind the U.S. Attorney General that there is no privilege for violating an American’s First Amendment rights.”
A key component of this suit is what is called the “law of agency,” which states that the federal government could be responsible for the actions of private companies if it encourages or compels them to violate the law. Landry expects this case will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court and will set a landmark precedent for government-corporate collusion going forward.
Demonstrating both its intentions to curtail Big-Tech monopolies and the authority the government has over them, the DOJ announced a lawsuit on Jan. 24 against Google for monopolistic abuses regarding advertising.
“Today’s complaint alleges that Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful conduct to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies,” Attorney General Merrick Garland stated when announcing the suit.
But this gives little comfort to those who are concerned about government-tech collusion, particularly when it comes to silencing political opponents.
“As Big Tech continues to target conservatives, the revolving door between the Justice Department and Big Tech calls into question the Biden administration’s willingness to end these abuses rather than collaborate with big tech,” AAF President Tom Jones said.
The DOJ, Meta, Google, and Amazon were contacted for comment on this article. They did not respond by press time.