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The Podium

Tuesday, May 18

From Gmail to a Reprimand

By Bruce Mehlman

techPresident reports that Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Andrew McLaughlin was recently reprimanded over using his private Gmail address to talk to people at Google:

McLaughlin was cited for two kinds of actions: using a personal email account for some professional email exchanges and for violating restrictions on contacts with Google, his former employer. Most notable among the latter were a pair of conversations with the Director of U.S. Public Policy for Google about mobilizing Google’s resources to respond to negative press mentions. Those breaches, according to a memo by OSTP Director John Holdren, “implicated” the Federal Records Act and the President’s Ethics Pledge signed by McLaughlin upon his employment as an Obama administration point person on innovation and Internet policy, within the White House Office of Technology and Science Policy.

The Hill has more:

In one exchange, [Google’s Director of U.S. Public Policy Andrew] Davidson alerts McLaughlin to possible fallout from his remarks on net neutrality. Later, the company offers to go to bat for McLaughlin, promising to “tee up” the Open Internet Coalition—of which Google is a chief member—to defend the Web chief’s remarks.

The conversation ends when Davidson writes: “Update on this—haven’t seen anything run yet. We and a few OIC folks talked with reporters. It’s possible that killed it, which is probably driving [AT&T] crazy.”