The Justice Department and Big Tech seem to have a revolving-door relationship, one watchdog group contends after doing an analysis covering over 20 years. 

Corporate brands such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon have hired former Justice Department senior officials while also serving as a farm team for the government agency.

Big Tech firms hired about 360 former Justice Department employees, while the Justice Department hired 41 former Big Tech employees, according to the American Accountability Foundation. Most of the jobs are since 2011, but the earliest example goes back to 2000. 

The organization’s analysis comes after the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit in January against Google amid pressure from both Democrats and Republicans to address concerns about Big Tech’s censorship of free speech, clout in politics, and monopolistic power. 

In December, Twitter fired its deputy general counsel, James Baker, who is a former general counsel to the FBI.  

After President Joe Biden was elected in November 2020, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, hired 40 employees who previously worked for the Justice Department. 

The analysis by the American Accountability Foundation shows that 61 of 103 Amazon employees who previously worked for the Justice Department were hired after Biden’s election.  

Although it’s not uncommon for government officials to rotate between jobs in private industry and federal agencies, the shared goals of the bureaucracy and Big Tech are more alarming, said Tom Jones, president of the American Accountability Foundation.

“The relationship between Big Tech and the government is a different relationship [than] between most agencies and industries,” Jones told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “Big Tech has become an adjunct of the government. They are pursuing the same goals. People are moving back and forth because they are pushing the same agenda that is out of step with most Americans.”

Jones said this “revolving door” calls into question whether the Biden administration would end some abuses that involve Big Tech’s targeting of conservatives. 

The American Accountability Foundation’s analysis also says that Microsoft hired 26 legal and technological employees who had Justice Department experience. Moreover, Meta, the corporate parent of Facebook, hired 53 employees who had worked for the Justice Department.

The watchdog group said it did the analysis based on public information, including from news reports and LinkedIn. 

Out of hundreds of names listed, Jones’ organization singles out some high-ranking individuals. 

Glenn Leon is the chief of the Justice Department’s criminal fraud section and has been back and forth between government and industry. Leon was deputy chief of the agency’s criminal fraud section before Hewlett-Packard hired him as senior vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer. But Leon left HP to return to the Justice Department for the top job in the criminal fraud section. 

Keith Edelman started his Justice Department career as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York. From there, Edelman became the associated general counsel at Meta, Facebook’s parent company. After that run, he returned to the Justice Department as special counsel for the assistant attorney general in the criminal division. 

On the Big Tech side, Lawrence Reicher is a former chief of the Justice Departmen’s decree enforcement and compliance office in the antitrust division. Reicher is now Amazon’s corporate counsel for litigation and regulatory affairs.

Chris Sonderby initially served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, then as the Justice Department’s senior representative in Asia for transnational criminal matters. Sonderby is now vice president and deputy general counsel at Meta.

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