Google's political committee quits its effort to recoup stolen money

  • Thieves stole more than $2,500 from Google’s PAC in December.
  • The PAC told federal regulators that its bank failed to recoup the money.
  • An Insider investigation found political committees lost at least $2.7 million to theft during the 2020 election.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Google boasts of possessing the “world’s most advanced security infrastructures.”

But the company’s political action committee could use some more of it. 

The Google LLC NetPAC told federal regulators that it’s effectively ending efforts to recover money it reported stolen in December.

The money — about $2,500 — disappeared because of “fraudulent activity” by an “unknown, unauthorized, external party” who “cashed three counterfeit checks from the committee’s Wells Fargo Bank account,” assistant PAC treasurer Seth Webb told the Federal Election Commission.

An investigation by Wells Fargo proved fruitless, Webb wrote Friday to the FEC. 

“The fraud case has now been closed by the bank,” Webb said.

Google’s PAC is among dozens of political committees that together lost at least $2.7 million to thieves during the 2020 election, according to an Insider analysis of federal campaign finance records. 

Read more: Thieves stole at least $2.7 million from federal political committees during the 2020 election cycle. Biden’s campaign got hit, too.

President Joe Biden’s campaign committee, the Republican Party of Wisconsin, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ PAC, and the Humane Society Legislative Fund are among prominent political committees that have recently been jacked.

Some of the methods used to pilfer political campaigns are decidedly digital, such as cyberattacks and stolen credit-card numbers, while others are overtly old-school, including forgery and paper-check tampering.

Google spokesman Jose Castaneda declined to comment to Insider about the decision.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is one of the world’s wealthiest corporations, last year cracking the $1 trillion valuation mark for the first time. A couple thousand dollars in lost funds may therefore appear as insignificant as a rounding error.

But Google’s PAC is exclusively funded by employees’ donations, meaning a slice of their donations didn’t go toward political advocacy. Instead, they went into some thief’s pocket.

Google’s PAC ended March with about $1.66 million in reserve. 

During March, the company’s PAC contributed money to several dozen political candidates and committees in bucking a trend among corporate PACs curtailing their contributions. 

Contributions to Democrats include to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, and Reps. Adam Schiff of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Debbie Dingell of Michigan, and Kweisi Mfume of Maryland.

Google’s PAC also contributed money to some Republicans, including Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Mike Crapo of Idaho, and Reps. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, and Peter Meijer of Michigan. 

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