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The Hearing That Keeps On Giving The Hearing That Keeps On Giving

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Congress

The Hearing That Keeps On Giving

October 5, 2011

More than two weeks after testifying before a Senate panel, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has yet to put to rest some of the questions that senators had for him about his company's conduct.

Schmidt was questioned by the Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee last month over allegations that Google favors its own products and services in its search rankings - an issue that the Federal Trade Commission also is investigating.

A handful of senators indicated after the hearing that they were not satisfied with Schmidt's testimony. They include Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who told Tech Daily Dose this week that he wasn't satisfied with Schmidt's response to questions about the company's settlement with the Justice Department over allegations that it provided advertising services to illegal Canadian pharmacies. As a result of the settlement, Google agreed to pay a $500 million forfeiture.

When pressed for more details on the Canadian pharmacy controversy, Schmidt repeatedly told Cornyn at the hearing that Google's agreement with the Justice Department wouldn't allow him to comment further.

Cornyn said Tuesday that he believes Google misinterpreted the agreement. He said he has submitted additional questions to Schmidt in writing. When asked if he wanted another hearing on the issue, Cornyn said, "We'll let him answer the questions in writing and see how they turn out."

A spokeswoman for Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Chairman Herb Kohl, D-Wis., said the subcommittee has not received responses yet to follow-up questions submitted to Schmidt after the hearing.

Schmidt may not have done himself any favors when he complained to The Washington Post recently about the hearing and being "hauled in front of the Congress for developing a product that's free, that serves a billion people." In the interview with the Post, Schmidt also said that many members of Congress don't understand the tech industry.

"For every one of these Internet-savvy senators, there's another senator who doesn't get it at all. And it's not a partisan issue. It's true in both parties," Schmidt told the Post when asked about why Google has invested so much in lobbying and political contributions.

Schmidt was asked about those comments during an interview Wednesday at a day-long conference sponsored by The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute. He said Google understands and respects that Congress has a job to do.

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