Wary of antitrust action, Google reaches for Republicans

Google(s goog), like most Silicon Valley companies, is considered to be firmly in the camp of the Democratic party: its employees overwhelming donated to Obama, and the company strongly supports causes like gay marriage and immigration reform. But lately the company has shoveling money to liberal bugbears like Rand Paul and the Heritage Foundation.

As the Wall Street Journal reports (sub req’d), the search giant is taking an increasingly realpolitik approach in Washington, and deciding that all wheels need to be greased:

Google has hired a string of Republican operatives as part of an effort to build relationships with GOP lawmakers […]┬áIt provided support to Heritage Action, which helped lead the charge to defund the 2010 health-care law that prompted October’s partial government shutdown; to the American Conservative Union, which runs the annual CPAC conference, a landmark on the conservative calendar; and to the American Legislative Exchange Council

As the article points out, this decision to play both sides of the political aisle is a common tactic for many established corporations but, in Google’s case, the company appears to have one particular goal in mind: keeping would-be trust busters at pay. It’s a legitimate concern.

In the last few months alone, Google has swallowed leading companies in home energy, robotics and map making — all while maintaining its dominance in online search, and taking over the mobile market. Wary of what happened to Microsoft(s msft), which went through a pro-longed antitrust trial in the 1990’s, Google is eager to build allies among Republicans, who have a more laissez-faire approach to antitrust issues than Democrats.