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Cornyn attacks Biden nominee for taking cash from same tech companies bankrolling him

The Texas senator himself has received tens of thousands of dollars from Google and Microsoft.

By Josh Israel - March 18, 2021
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) blasted one of President Joe Biden’s nominees on Thursday for having received funds from Google and Microsoft — companies from which Cornyn has also taken tens of thousands of dollars in PAC contributions.

Vanita Gupta, Biden’s pick to be associate attorney general, has been president and CEO of the Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 organizations working toward full equality for everyone, since 2017.

Cornyn, who has claimed Gupta is Biden’s most dangerous nominee to the Justice Department, argued that because her organization has received donations from large technology companies, she has a conflict of interest.

“While the Associate Attorney General oversees the Antitrust Division, the current nominee, Vanita Gupta, accepted donations made by Big Tech to the Leadership Conference as follows: Google, $150,000 and Microsoft, $750,000,” Cornyn tweeted on Thursday. “Between 2017-2020, Google donated to the Leadership Conference’s Education Fund, $3,051,500 and Microsoft donated $126,396.45.”

“Is this the right person to oversee antitrust litigation against Big Tech?” he asked.

But like many of his colleagues, Cornyn has also received significant funding from big tech companies — including the two he singled out. According to Federal Election Commission data, has taken at least $27,000 over his career from Microsoft’s political action committee and at least $25,000 from Google’s.

That includes contributions from both PACs as recently as last June.

Cornyn has never recused himself from his role on the Senate Judiciary Committee over what he has described as a conflict of interest presented by the tech company benefactors.

A spokesperson for the Texas Republican did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

Senate Republicans have also targeted Gupta for her work on equity and her acknowledgement that implicit bias exists.

During her hearing on Monday, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas claimed her acceptance of that reality was “slander” against America and must mean she thinks “that every single person has racial biases.”

Cornyn himself shared a right-wing publication’s editorial on Wednesday opposing her confirmation and calling her “race-obsessed.”

Experts have said repeatedly that aversive racism and implicit bias are real, and affect almost everyone.

“I don’t think any amount of training or testing can cure us of unconscious biases or implicit — these shortcuts that we employ, but I think it has to be an ongoing process,” Pragya Agarwal, a U.K.-based behavioral and data scientist, told NPR in July 2020, adding that humans manage those biases through constant self-evaluation and checked behaviors.

“I think as we start doing that, we can start breaking or dismantling some of these kind of assumptions that we carry about groups of people,” Agarwal added.

The Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on advancing Gupta’s nomination next week.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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