Google, which has been expanding its influence beyond its traditional tech allies, gave money in the past year to Heritage Action, the upstart conservative advocacy group that helped set in motion this fall’s government shutdown.
The group is a new addition to the list of dozens of independent groups that received grants from Google since September 2012, according to an examination by the nonprofit Center for Media and Democracy, based in Madison, Wisc.
A spokeswoman for the tech giant declined to comment on the size of the grant or whether it will continue to support Heritage Action.
Google, which voluntarily discloses the recipients of its grants online, does not reveal how much it gives each group. On its Web site, the company says it provides support to “a number of independent third-party organizations whose federally-focused work intersects in some way with technology and Internet policy.”
Among the organizations on the list are a number of major conservative players, including American Action Network, Americans for Tax Reform and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Google also funds traditionally liberal groups such as the NAACP, the Urban League and the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
A spokesman for Heritage Action said the group does not comment on its funders.
A sister organization of the Heritage Foundation think tank, Heritage Action emerged as one of the most polarizing groups in Washington this year, in large part because of its efforts to whip up support among conservatives for using a government funding bill to undermine President Obama’s signature health-care law. The resulting 16-day government shutdown was lambasted by business leaders as damaging to the U.S. economy.