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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Google is among several big U.S. companies criticized in a report Monday for taking part in an April meeting of Republican state leaders that focused on efforts to pass new restrictions on voting.

Why it matters: Google has publicly said it is opposed to bills that would make voting harder, but it's also trying to engage with both Democrats and Republicans and some of that latter group are working hard to pass such bills in a number of states.

Driving the news: Popular Information reported that a Google representative, along with policy officials from Deloitte and Citigroup, were listed as participants in an April 6 meeting of a policy working group being led by the Republican State Leadership Committee's "election integrity committee."

  • A week earlier, top Google policy executive Kent Walker had stated Google's concern over such state laws and the company's support for a proposed national voting rights act.

The big picture: Under intense scrutiny, tech companies have been eager to show they aren't playing political favorites when it comes to Republicans and Democrats. At the same time, they have also tried to paint themselves as opposed state-level efforts to make voting harder.

  • The Republican Party push to promote such legislation in the name of election security has placed these two efforts at odds.

Quick take: It's clear why Big Tech companies want to stay involved with both major parties — especially with the threat of regulation and legislation looming. However, Google appears to want to have its cake and eat it too by funding a group actively trying to enact legislation it says it opposes.

What they're saying: Google acknowledges donating to the Republican group in 2020 but maintains it's not an active participant in the effort to make voting more difficult. Rather, it says it donated to leadership groups of both parties in 2020 as part of an effort to inform the groups about the company's election tools and services."

  • Along with many other companies, one of our representatives attended a Republican Secretaries meeting to understand whether our products would be discussed," Google said in a statement to Axios. "When it became clear they weren't going to be, he left."

What's next: Google is said to be evaluating whether it will continue contributing to the group.

Go deeper

House Democrats pass $3.5 trillion budget resolution

Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Democrats passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution on Tuesday, 220-212, advancing the party’s effort to pass a sweeping economic package that would expand the nation’s social safety net.

Why it matters: Democrats now will be able to use the budget reconciliation process to pass a bill — likely later this fall — by a simple majority, tackling key priorities like health care, child care and climate change.

Aug 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House Democrats strike deal to advance infrastructure, voting rights proposals

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) departs the House Democratic Caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After hours of infighting, House Democrats on Tuesday struck a deal that would approve their $3.5 trillion budget resolution, set up floor action on the bipartisan infrastructure bill by Sept. 27 and advance voting rights legislation.

Why it matters: The deal is key to advancing Democrats' top three priorities — all of which are expected to receive little to no House Republican support.

Ex-NFL star Herschel Walker jumps into Georgia Senate race

Then-President Donald Trump is greeted by NFL Hall of Fame member Herschel Walker during an event for Black supporters at the Cobb Galleria Centre, Sept. 25, 2020, in Atlanta. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Former NFL running back Herschel Walker has filed paperwork to run for Senate, challenging freshman Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia next year.

Driving the news: Walker, a Republican, has received support from former president Donald Trump but has faced scrutiny over his recent residency in Texas.