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Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images

Google brought a slew of D.C. policy experts to its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters this week for a summit, according to people familiar with the event, as the tech company seeks to deflect scrutiny from Washington.

Why it matters: Google is in the midst of reconfiguring its approach to a newly aggressive Washington, and it cut its lobbying budget last year. With this event, the company aims to make sure D.C. influencers from across the ideological spectrum understand its products better.

Details: Roughly 50 people from groups ranging from Public Knowledge to Americans for Prosperity are attending an event that Google, according to an invite obtained by Axios, is billing as the first in a "series of quarterly policy and product summits."

  • Google will "present an interactive program designed to dig into timely and relevant subject matter and to strengthen connections between our valued partners and our broader teams," according to the invite.
  • That includes briefings and discussions on products such as search, advertising and artificial intelligence, according to a person familiar with the event.
  • Speakers from Google's D.C. office include Karan Bhatia, vice president of global policy and government relations, and Mark Isakowitz, vice president of government affairs & public policy.

Between the lines: It's common for companies such as Google to host gatherings of policy experts. Outside voices can be critical in shaping Washington policymakers' views, so in an era of growing mistrust of Silicon Valley, companies like Google may find indirect influence more effective than direct lobbying.

What they're saying: "We've long engaged with organizations from across the political spectrum that focus on technology issues," a Google spokesperson said. "We're always glad to have the opportunity to host people at our headquarters to explain our products and the work we do to innovate."

Go deeper

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.