MarkusQ writes, "The NY Times among others is reporting that Google is ramping up its lobbying clout (registration or bugmenot required). The 'Don't be evil' search engine company has hired the infamous astroturfing and dirty tricks firm Direct Connect, Inc. You may remember DCI from their recent attempts to pass off their 'Penguin Army' video as a product of some lone wit, unconnected with their client, Exxon. Or their involvement in Microsoft's 'even dead voters love Microsoft' campaign. With a staff of veterans in the biz (such as Chris 'Swiftboat' LaCivita and Jim 'Electioneering' Tobin), led by Tom 'Big Tobacco on the Dole' Synhorst, I'm sure DCI will be able to give Google whatever they're paying them for. The question is, what are they paying them for? And does 'Don't be evil' imply 'Don't pay professionals to be evil for you?' Or could there possibly be a non-evil reason to hire these clowns?"