Senators Ask Google CEO to Explain Apparent Election-Related Disparities

November 5, 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) today sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai after a nonpartisan study raised questions about whether Google targeted get-out-the-vote messages specifically to liberal users in the run-up to the election. In testimony before the Senate last month, Mr. Pichai said that Google does not alter any product to promote a specific political viewpoint.

A study of 773 politically diverse computer users in the lead-up to the election by Dr. Robert Epstein found that only liberal users received get-out-the-vote notifications from Monday, Oct. 26 through Thursday, Oct. 29.

“Dr. Epstein’s allegations appear credible and are very concerning. If it is true that Google is targeting messages to help Democrats win elections, then Google has not been truthful to Congress and has deceived countless Americans. These allegations must be taken seriously. Congress must have all the facts and evidence from Dr. Epstein with responses from Google as we consider changes to address these serious issues,” said Sen. Lee.

“Dr. Epstein’s response to my phone call regarding his monitoring of Google’s election activities contains a number of astonishing revelations. First is the fact that in order to maintain their viewership numbers on Google’s search platform, newspapers and other media outlets share their Gmail communications with Google. Second is that in order to tilt voter participation in favor of Democrat candidates, Google was sending a voting reminder only to individuals it profiled as liberal. And third is that, according to Dr. Epstein, by monitoring the New York Post’s Gmail account, Google became aware that Dr. Epstein had documented their biased vote reminder. Only then did they end the liberal only vote reminder and begin sending the vote reminder to all voters. Google and other social media giants have amassed far too much power, and this example of Orwellian Big Brother manipulation demonstrates that Congress must address this significant threat to our democracy and freedoms,” said Sen. Johnson.

“Big Tech presents a grave threat to free speech in America and to the integrity of our elections,” said Sen. Cruz. “Google has more power than any company on the face of the planet, and Dr. Epstein’s findings raise serious concerns about Google’s abuse of that power and its willingness to manipulate its platform to help Joe Biden win the presidency. Google must provide answers as to why and how it manipulated users to influence this election.”

Text of the Senators’ letter can be found here.