What do the Internet and Washington have in common? They're both about making connections. For Google, which has been turning computer connections into dollars, it's time to amp up the kind made in the halls of power. So, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, they've hired the lobbying firm of PodestaMattoon and on their team is a lobbyist with a special connection - Joshua Hastert is the son of House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
A New York Times article from 2002 profiled the young Hastert like this:
With a pierced tongue, a goatee and previous employment as the owner of a record store and label called Seven Dead Arson, the young man is not a typical buttoned-down Washington lobbyist. But Joshua Hastert, 27, does have something increasingly common in lobbying circles - family ties to a Congressional leader.
Podesta's own bio of Hastert reads a little differently:
Prior to joining the firm, Josh owned a small business in Northern Illinois, served as manager of Washington operations for MP3.com, helped establish the high-tech policy group and think-tank TechIssues, and provided consulting and appropriations services for several small defense companies. In addition to his wide array of policy expertise, Josh has long-standing relationships with numerous offices on Capitol Hill and in the Administration as well as a unique understanding of the legislative process.
Google is hiring the firm at a time when the high-visibility firm is under pressure over its self-censorship in China and is preparing to battle the big telecom companies over net neutrality.
Google strongly supports keeping the Internet democratic. But the telecommunications companies that own some of the Internet's infrastructure -- which have legions of lobbyists -- believe otherwise, and hope to charge companies to deliver their data to consumers more quickly.