Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt are all billionaires, many times over—which you might think disqualifies them from buying cheap vacation gas from the military to keep their private aircraft fueled in government-owned hangars. Incorrect.
The Wall Street Journal reports that "the U.S. Department of Defense ended a little-known arrangement that for years allowed the tech billionaires to travel on sharply discounted jet fuel bought from the Pentagon"—meaning Google was paying $3.74 per gallon while other companies paid double at private airfields. The entire deal, quietly scrapped after congressional pressure from Sen. Chuck Grassley, was a little governmental quid pro quo:
The cheap fuel for the Google executives came courtesy of a special agreement with NASA, whose Ames Research Center is based at Moffett Federal Airfield, a former U.S. Navy base that is the most convenient airport to Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, about three miles away.
Although Moffett is closed to most non-government traffic, NASA in 2007 signed a deal allowing H211 LLC, a private company representing jets owned by the Google founders and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, to base aircraft at Moffett. The fleet recently included seven jets and two helicopters. H211 agreed to pay about $1.3 million in annual rent and cost recovery, while Google separately is leasing some Moffett land for a future office campus.
An excerpt from the agreement between a shell company acting on behalf of Google's horny, island-loving c-suite and our federal government can be seen below, procured by an irate local NGO via FOIA and provided to Valleywag:
The Google fleet conducted a few "scientific experiments" (basically carrying some onboard measurement gear) that made up a tiny minority of fuel gallons burned. Many other subsidized flights were made on official Google business. But there's still plenty of fun-time jetsetting, the Journal notes, including myriad trips to Westhampton, Fiji, Nantucket, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, Martha's Vineyard, and other destinations you'd expect from a high class guy with a fuck penthouse. Typical rich guy stuff! But most rich guys aren't rich guy-ing with fuel you you helped pay for—and why should we help? It's not like we get to lie on the towel next to Eric Schmidt et al. or accompany the suits to a summit in Zurich. Feel free to womanize and skip off to Fiji—just use your own billions, please.