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Shareholders Urge Google to Drop U.S. Chamber of Commerce Membership

A group of shareholders planned to urge Google Inc. at the company’s annual meeting today to drop its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The shareholders also planned to probe Google on its policy of using corporate funds for independent campaign expenditures in the post-Citizens United environment.

“We invest in Google based on both profit and principle,” Ron Freund of the San Francisco-area investment firm Social Equity Group said in a prepared statement ahead of the meeting.

As for the chamber membership, Freund’s statement said, “This may sound overly dramatic, but it is really about what this vitally important company can and must do to strengthen our democracy before we descend back to a future where employees have no rights, women are treated as second-class citizens and science itself is placed on trial like a modern-day Galileo before the Roman Inquisition.”

He continued: “We believe more information means more choice, more freedom and ultimately more power for people — and that’s what our mission is all about.”

This is hardly the first time Google has been encouraged to drop its membership in the chamber. Last fall, during debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act, activists pressured Google to abandon the business group, which supported SOPA.

Neither the chamber nor Google responded to inquiries seeking comment.

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