Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told lawmakers that Russian-linked ad accounts spent “about $4,700 in advertising” during the 2016 elections.
In questioning Pichai, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) described these findings as part of “Russian agents’ campaign to interfere in the election.”
Nadler noted that YouTube “identified and shut down” numerous accounts containing “thousands of videos associated with the Russian misinformation campaign” and asked Pichai if Google had determined to what extent it was exploited by Russian actors two years ago.
Following a thorough investigation, “we now know that two main ad accounts linked to Russia advertised on Google for about $4,700,” said Pichai, describing this figure as “limited activity.” Google also detected “limited activity” from Russian- and Iran-linked accounts during this year’s midterm elections.
When asked what steps Google would be taking to prevent future interference, Pichai assured Nadler that Google was “investing a lot of effort and oversight in this area,” including cooperation with law enforcement and other technology companies.
“Looking ahead to the next Congress, I assume we can have your assurances that Google will work with this committee as we examine the issue of how to better secure our elections from future foreign interference?” asked Nadler.
Pichai told Nadler that Congress has his “full commitment.”
Democrats are using Pichai’s testimony to bolster their claims about Russian interference in the 2016 elections, but if you’re familiar with the advertising industry, you know that $4,700 isn’t even a blip on the weekly reports of most (hundreds) marketing agencies.
Google’s investigation also uncovered an additional $53,000 in political ad spending from Russian Internet addresses, but it is unclear whether any were connected to the Russian government. The ads included a documentary about Trump’s efforts to build a golf course in Scotland, as well as material in favor of and against former President Barack Obama.
Who is Jerry Nadler?
Jerry Nadler is an attorney and politician who has been representing New York’s 10th district since 1992.
He is currently the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and has been selected to lead the committee when his party takes control of the chamber in January.
Nadler is a vocal Trump critic who in recent days has accused the president of “impeachable offenses.” Earlier this week, he told reporters that next year’s Congress would be taking a closer look at Trump’s business dealings and his alleged collusion with Russia to determine whether impeachment is a valid option.
“We have to get to the bottom of this, find out what all the facts are, we and the special counsel, and then make decisions,” said Nadler.
Editor’s note: Google brings in more than $100 million PER DAY in advertising revenue, and Pichai is talking about $4700. Does anyone honestly think the Russians seriously were trying to influence American elections with this amount of money? Our advertisers spend more than $4700 just to test random marketing copy.
But Nadler wants to “get to the bottom of this.” How is he not embarrassed by this?