DoJ rushes to approve Google’s ITA purchase before shutdown; Update: Approved!

posted at 12:50 pm on April 8, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

With the budget impasse about to result in a government shutdown, the federal government has just hours to finish up its highest priorities in the discretionary-spending world.  Would that be paying the troops?  Staffing Social Security support centers?  Prosecuting criminals in federal court?  Not exactly, as the Washington Post discovered this morning.  The Department of Justice will spend its remaining budget today trying to expedite approval of a deal involving one of Barack Obama’s most significant supporters and one of his informal presidential advisers:

With a government shutdown looming, the Justice Department is hurrying to approve a controversial deal by Google on Friday that would allow the firm to acquire a powerful travel search software firm, though with some strings attached, according to a source close to the negotiations.

Antitrust officials are moving quickly to resolve months of negotiations with the tech giant over concerns that the acquisition could hurt competition in the travel search business. A shutdown could throw the talks into disarray because many Justice employees would not be able to work.

Government officials are seeking an agreement with Google that would require ongoing antitrust monitoring of the company, a first for the tech firm as it fends off rising concerns about its size and dominance on the Web.

Coincidentally, I’m sure, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was a big donor to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.  He now serves on Obama’s President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), after working on his transition team.  Schmidt will retire from his CEO position at Google this month but will remain executive chairman of Google.

This decision comes after two controversies with Google in the past month.  First, a new book claims that Schmidt attempted to get the record of a political contribution removed from Google archives so people wouldn’t easily find it.  As the Post reports, the Federal Trade Commission is already investigating alleged privacy violations committed by Google in its Buzz product.  Expediting the approval seems rather unusual in light of the latter issue.

However, it tells us plenty about the priorities of this DoJ and the Obama administration.  They seem to be willing to cut off pay for the troops by refusing to budge on a new CR than fully funds Defense for the rest of the year, but not willing to make Google and Schmidt wait to complete their sale.

Update: Hey, who says the federal government isn’t efficient?  The deal got announced a few minutes ago:

The Justice Department said on Friday it has approved Google’s $700 million acquisition of ITA, an online travel company specializing in airline ticketing software, with several conditions.

Whew!  Never mind that military families will have to do without pay; at least they’ve taken care of Eric Schmidt.  Our long national nightmare is over.

Update II: I rewrote the paragraph after the excerpt, as it made it sound as though Schmidt was retiring from PCAST.  He’s retiring as Google CEO.


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Comments

Priorities! Winning!

Tim Zank on April 8, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Priorities.

The US citizen doesn’t make the list.

BobMbx on April 8, 2011 at 12:53 PM

However, it tells us plenty about the priorities of this DoJ and the Obama administration. They seem to be willing to cut off pay for the troops by refusing to budge on a new CR than fully funds Defense for the rest of the year, but not willing to make Google and Schmidt wait to complete their sale.

This president is just horrible.

tetriskid on April 8, 2011 at 12:54 PM

WTF!

Fubo and Fueh!

Brat4life on April 8, 2011 at 12:56 PM

The peeps needs ta do their searches…./doj

I use bing.

ted c on April 8, 2011 at 12:57 PM

They have to make sure Google keeps censoring for Obama.

flyfisher on April 8, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Oh good. I wasn’t worried about the troops, but Google? Yeah.

fossten on April 8, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I think most of the nation now agrees that the current DoJ with Holder and Obama are corrupt. No justice from the No Justice Dept.

And about this:

Google CEO Eric Schmidt was a big donor to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. He now serves on Obama’s President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), after working on his transition team. Schmidt will retire from this position this month but will remain executive chairman of Google.

Riiiggghhttt, Schmidt to retire from the Obama Admin. Ridiculous, he’s just shifting the command center or, rather, reasserting it. Google, also corrupt.

Lourdes on April 8, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Well to control the people the money must go to google. Screw the troops. *sigh*

capejasmine on April 8, 2011 at 12:59 PM

They have to make sure Google keeps censoring for Obama.

flyfisher on April 8, 2011 at 12:57 PM

And making sure that Media Matters’ “articles” get the first two, three pages of search results, in which they malign Republicans, the Right, Fox News, Christians, anyone…

Lourdes on April 8, 2011 at 1:00 PM

The peeps needs ta do their searches…./doj

I use bing.

ted c on April 8, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I now use bing, too, as preferential search engine but that’s a compromise, too, what with Gates/Microsoft.

At least bing asks for my robots file before they gather my site’s pages. But I now use bing because I can’t stand google’s creepy assocations with Obama and the Democrats.

Lourdes on April 8, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Google acts as the memory hole for the DNC. They have people duped into using it and looking for truth, and they find some. More telling, however, is the information that happens to disappear or never emerge at all.

ted c on April 8, 2011 at 1:01 PM

The Obama Administration: GANGSTER GOVERNMENT, UNBOUND!

pilamaye on April 8, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Google needs to rebrand as “Demoogle”.

Lourdes on April 8, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Critics say Google will have too much control over searches for flights if it controls ITA.

Google is already doing it, Ed and have been for some time, so I don’t know what the big rush is all about. There are dozens of sites where you can find cheaper flights that Kayak, etc, but you’ll never find them on Google.

Knucklehead on April 8, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Have I mentioned that I hate google.

upinak on April 8, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Fishy?

Why yes, I think it is. We have to report this to Big Brother, pronto!

hillbillyjim on April 8, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Most transparent corrupt Administration evah!

KMC1 on April 8, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Update: Hey, who says the federal government isn’t efficient? The deal got announced a few minutes ago:

The Justice Department said on Friday it has approved Google’s $700 million acquisition of ITA, an online travel company specializing in airline ticketing software, with several conditions.

Whew! Never mind that military families will have to do without pay; at least they’ve taken care of Eric Schmidt. Our long national nightmare is over.

And this is what the GOP should be screaming from the rooftops when they counter Obama’s talking points. They won’t of course. They will barely whisper that the priorities of the White House could be better and then sit there and take even more abuse.

sharrukin on April 8, 2011 at 1:11 PM

wapo doing a heckuva job today….what is in their kool-aid?

cmsinaz on April 8, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Windows did a massive update overnite and included IE9. Somehow a bing tool bar was part of that package and it froze up my computer the first time I opened IE, so I deleted it.

Is yahoo’s search engine compromised? What else is out there?

I think the regime is blowing this one by not funding the military this time. The republicans need to really hammer this in ads, mentioning that planned parenthood is more important than feeding the families of our soldiers in combat.

This is the lowest of low I have ever seen come out of DC.

karenhasfreedom on April 8, 2011 at 1:13 PM

You know, and I’m just spitballin’ here, but a free press would be great to have, as a way of investigating how a special deal for a huge contributor got approved in record time. Dreaming, I know, but still…

MTF on April 8, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Schmidt was retiring from PCAST. He’s retiring as Google CEO.

Now he can fully support higher income taxes since he has already made his.

WashJeff on April 8, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Rush is really hammering this planned parenthood funding in lieu of the troops today. Between that and the WI judge election, he is on a roll.

karenhasfreedom on April 8, 2011 at 1:14 PM

The shameless graft and corruption of this administration is like none since the Warren G. Harding days.

simkeith on April 8, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Yea I’ll have to scramble to figure out how to stop our allotment for rent if the government shuts down so we don’t get any late fees or bounced fees. But google doesn’t have to worry that they’ll have to wait to buy a company. Priorities. FUEH!

Brat4life on April 8, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Was the bill to pay the troops a cut & dry bill with nothing attached to it? If not, then both sides deserve blame for not paying the troops.

fastestslug on April 8, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Bing looking better all the time. Not perfect, but better.

ornery_independent on April 8, 2011 at 1:16 PM

karenhasfreedom on April 8, 2011 at 1:14 PM

yes he is….
righton righton righton

cmsinaz on April 8, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Crony capitalism at its finest.

flyfisher on April 8, 2011 at 1:18 PM

bing!

cjtony97 on April 8, 2011 at 1:18 PM

It’s good to be the King!

…as well as friends of the King!

FloatingRock on April 8, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Is yahoo’s search engine compromised? What else is out there?

karenhasfreedom on April 8, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Altavista
Dogpile

Knucklehead on April 8, 2011 at 1:19 PM

“Paging Darrell Issa, paging Darrell Issa, please pick up the red courtesy phone…”

ornery_independent on April 8, 2011 at 1:19 PM

You know, and I’m just spitballin’ here, but a free press would be great to have, as a way of investigating how a special deal for a huge contributor got approved in record time. Dreaming, I know, but still…

MTF on April 8, 2011 at 1:13 PM

The SEC sat on a 14C filing for a company I was employed by for 6 months with no real reason and basically destroyed the working capital of the company. I guess the small businesses trying to create private sector new jobs are not a priority of this regime.

karenhasfreedom on April 8, 2011 at 1:19 PM

Don’t Be Evil.

Jorge Bonilla on April 8, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Our troops in Afghanistan are out celebrating today knowing that Google has its deal approved.

No pay for dodging IED’s or battling savages, but that’s alright, Google take precedence.

Bishop on April 8, 2011 at 1:23 PM

I know where we can save big money. When the shut down occurs shut down the White House, especially the kitchen. That should save us millions!

sandee on April 8, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Crony capitalism at its finest.

flyfisher on April 8, 2011 at 1:18 PM

You beat me to it! BTW, aren’t these Google guys in that category of people ‘who have too much money’ as Duh Won constantly complained about?

Oh, right…. that only applies to political persuasion.

This administration is terribly transparent in a few ways.

Cody1991 on April 8, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Bing looking better all the time. Not perfect, but better.

ornery_independent on April 8, 2011 at 1:16 PM

or yahoo, or dogpile or anything BUT google.

upinak on April 8, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Crony capitalism.

rbj on April 8, 2011 at 1:27 PM

The peeps needs ta do their searches…./doj

I use bing.

ted c on April 8, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I use http://www.startingpage.com. They use Google results but hide your URL so you can’t be data-mined.

fiatboomer on April 8, 2011 at 1:27 PM

I guess that facebook is off the menu now, since they are linked with google as well?

upinak on April 8, 2011 at 1:27 PM

fiatboomer on April 8, 2011 at 1:27 PM

yahoo does the same thing.

upinak on April 8, 2011 at 1:28 PM

When the shut down occurs shut down the White House, especially the kitchen. That should save us millions!

sandee on April 8, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Heaven forbid. Shutting down the WH kitchen and depriving the First Fatty of her delicacies would create a one woman riot. The damage would be in the trillions.

Cody1991 on April 8, 2011 at 1:28 PM

I use http://www.startingpage.com. They use Google results but hide your URL so you can’t be data-mined.

fiatboomer on April 8, 2011 at 1:27 PM

They hide your IP address. Sorry, first dinner with brewskies in a couple of weeks.

fiatboomer on April 8, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Funny how the outrage from the left over obvious big fat cat corporation like Google are not so worth of outrage.

Hmmm….

Kini on April 8, 2011 at 1:33 PM

If only that slug holder worked that fast dealing with the black panthers, things might get done!
L

letget on April 8, 2011 at 1:34 PM

GOP Rep. Allen West suggests Republicans are “using” troops
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20051890-503544.html

fastestslug on April 8, 2011 at 1:36 PM

FYI, Google and Yahoo were partners in online advertising a few years back, but Google dropped the idea cuz it was having trouble getting past Bush’s DOJ, as this article from on or around election day 2008 sez:

Google drops Yahoo advertising partnership

Too bad for you Google. Looks like Microsoft picked up the pieces of the deal. If only you had waited a couple more months…heh heh….

ornery_independent on April 8, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Yet its going to take 4 to 6 weeks for me to get my passport. Or even longer now with this government shut down looming.

I moved my travel plans to the end of August? Anything think/know if I’ll get my passport before then? I submitted the application 4 days ago.

jawkneemusic on April 8, 2011 at 1:39 PM

GOP Rep. Allen West suggests Republicans are “using” troops
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20051890-503544.html

fastestslug on April 8, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Wow….just wow. I thought he was smarter than this. Leave it to the GOP to pull the rug out from under themselves.

jawkneemusic on April 8, 2011 at 1:41 PM

jawkneemusic on April 8, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Is there any way you can amend your application to include “union member” somewhere on it, because you will get express service.

Bishop on April 8, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Google is Evil.

slickwillie2001 on April 8, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Is there any way you can amend your application to include “union member” somewhere on it, because you will get express service.

Bishop on April 8, 2011 at 1:43 PM

LOL!

jawkneemusic on April 8, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Heaven forbid. Shutting down the WH kitchen and depriving the First Fatty of her delicacies would create a one woman riot. The damage would be in the trillions.
Cody1991 on April 8, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Sure but the GOP would lock up the lobster vote if the WH kitchen closed.

Bishop on April 8, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Yet its going to take 4 to 6 weeks for me to get my passport. Or even longer now with this government shut down looming.

I moved my travel plans to the end of August? Anything think/know if I’ll get my passport before then? I submitted the application 4 days ago.

jawkneemusic on April 8, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Did you pay the extra $25 bucks to have it expedited?

When I got my new passport in 2007, the entire process was handled by a private agency even though I reapplied at the U.S. Post Office.

You should have nothing to worry about, especially if you put your travel date on passport application (if that option is still there)

Knucklehead on April 8, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Obama will always be one of the rich.

It’s the irony of them all. The little people are stupid to believe otherwise and their plantation masters are masterful in fooling them.

Socialism is so glorious and so is communism.

Masters of both live it up. The fools shout.

The world is full of morons.

Schadenfreude on April 8, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Google sucks people.
Been boycotting them as much as I can for a year.

The last straw was when my state (Texas) began legal action against them for their advertising practices.

carbon_footprint on April 8, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Bing sucks and Miscrosoft is just as evil folks. If not worse.

BierManVA on April 8, 2011 at 1:59 PM

They seem to be willing to cut off pay for the troops by refusing to budge on a new CR…

Never mind that military families will have to do without pay…

attaboy, ed.

sesquipedalian on April 8, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Knucklehead on April 8, 2011 at 1:50 PM

No, they wanted $99 to expedite it and said I would have to be leaving within 2 weeks even though expedited services takes 3 weeks. Head scratcher…I know. Otherwise they wouldn’t allow me to opt for expedited service. Plus, I figured since I’m not leaving until the end of August I wouldn’t need to get it sooner then 4 to 6 weeks.

jawkneemusic on April 8, 2011 at 2:01 PM

When asked for comment, Eric Holder said “Pardon?”

GarandFan on April 8, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Bing sucks and Miscrosoft is just as evil folks. If not worse.

BierManVA on April 8, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Yep, much truth to that… Bunch of Liberals making sure they get to stay above the laws of any land by purchasing entire governments. We will take care of them all in time. They are in bed with pure evil, which means their day of reckoning will come.

Keemo on April 8, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Boy, I would have thought Holder and his unjust DOJ would jump in and look at that ‘suspicious local WI SC race that had national impact’.

Didn’t know he had time for this.

Sir Napsalot on April 8, 2011 at 3:06 PM

The best Department of Just-Us money can buy.

In the wake of Janet Reno’s legacy of intimidation, slaughter and keeping Bubba out of prison that’s quite an accomplishment. Barbecue Reno taught her assistant well.

viking01 on April 8, 2011 at 3:34 PM

The Justice Department said on Friday it has approved Google’s $700 million acquisition of ITA, an online travel company specializing in airline ticketing software, with several conditions.

Lets see – kickbacks to Obama, Holder…

Ward Cleaver on April 8, 2011 at 3:42 PM

You mean DOJ lawyers couldn’t perform the work in anticipation of being paid sometime in the future? What with Mr. Holder, community organizer in chief at the helm, he couldn’t convince the staffers to do the work, like community organizers, for the greater good? Why those DOJ employees must be racist!

eaglewingz08 on April 8, 2011 at 3:45 PM

This helped me make a final decision… The new iPhone at Verizon or a Droid. Even though I’m not a huge fan of Apple, I’ve been getting much uneasier about Google. This officially seals the deal. TFB Google.

Big John on April 8, 2011 at 6:51 PM

POTUS must think that Google will help him get reelected… I didn’t know DoJ could move that fast…

Khun Joe on April 8, 2011 at 7:43 PM

What a coinkydink! Just got my new issue of Website Magazine, and lo and behold, it’s got an article on Five Search Alternatives to Google.

Blekko – DuckDuckGo – Greplin – Wajam – Quora

You’re welcome.

ornery_independent on April 9, 2011 at 4:53 PM