Scott Cleland - President, Precursor LLC -- Proven Thought Leadership, Chairman, NetCompetition

Scott Cleland

President, Precursor® LLC

Bio Summary

Scott Cleland is an influential precursor and proven thought leader on Internet competition and policy. Cleland is an expert's expert on how the Internet and Internet policy affect business models, investment, competition, markets, the economy, and consumers. He is an original thinker who specializes in bringing clarity of thought and applying framework analysis to complex Internet-related problems and issues before others do so.

Cleland is President of Precursor® LLC, an internet competition and policy consultancy and authors the widely-read PrecursorBlog. He served as Deputy United States Coordinator for Communications and Information Policy in the George H. W. Bush Administration.

Eight different Congressional subcommittees have sought Cleland's expert testimony and Institutional Investor twice ranked him the #1 independent analyst in his field. Cleland has been profiled in Fortune, National Journal, Barrons, WSJ's Smart Money, Investors Business Daily, and Broadcasting and Cable. Sixteen publications have featured his op-eds.

A Proven Thought Leader

Cleland was the first analyst to: predict passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act; spotlight that the 2002 Dotcom Bubble would burst because widely-accepted Internet growth projections were actually off by a factor of ten; predict at WorldCom's peak valuation that it was a "dead model walking" and would ultimately go bankrupt, which it did; and predict in 2007 congressional testimony that Google would become a monopoly and lasting antitrust problem, which it has. Currently, Cleland is the thought leader in discovering, explaining, and proving how U.S. Internet policy and law in Section 230 is the root cause of broad Internet market failure to protect consumer welfare.

Internet Competition & Policy Expert

Cleland has twenty-five years' experience advising top institutional investors and Fortune 500 companies on how the Internet and Internet policy affects competition, markets, the economy, and consumers. Eight congressional subcommittees have sought his expert testimony a total of 16 times. A U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee appointed him to several terms. In government, he served as Deputy United States Coordinator for Communications and information policy for the U.S. Department of State. Institutional Investor twice ranked him the #1 independent analyst in communications. As an investment analyst, he was the Nation's most quoted communications analyst. As an advocate, 16 publications have featured his op-eds.

Cleland is also a world-leading research authority on Google's unaccountability. He is author of the book: Search & Destroy: Why You Can't Trust Google Inc., which has been translated into Portuguese and Korean. He has testified three times before U.S. Congressional Subcommittees on Google; and Government's on four continents have sought his Google expertise.

Further Background

From 2006-2018, he served as Chairman of NetCompetition, a pro-competition e-forum supported by broadband interests.

Previously, Cleland served institutional investors as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Precursor Group Inc. He founded and co-built the Precursor Group Broker Dealer from scratch to the #1 Institutional Investor-recognized independent research firm in communications in four years. The firm served most of the top investment institutions in the U.S., including 39 of the top 50. At that time and in that role, Cleland was well-known as one of the most-widely quoted and interviewed analysts in the United States. Overall Cleland has thirteen years' experience in the institutional investment business including working for Legg Mason and the Schwab Washington Research Group.

Public Service

Scott Cleland served as a member of the United States Department of State Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy for six years in the W. Bush Administration and six years in the Obama Administration.

In 2002, Cleland conceived and was the Founding Chairman of the Investorside Research Association, the first and only association of independent research firms serving investors. Also, in 2002, Institutional Investor Magazine called Cleland "the de facto spokesperson for the independent research community." He was the lead source and primary analyst for Hedrick Smith's Emmy Award winning PBS Frontline Special, "The Wall Street Fix." Immediately following the surprise announcement of Enron's bankruptcy, Cleland was the first analyst asked to testify before Congress to explain how its then near record corporate fraud could happen.

Scott Cleland's career as a public servant concluded in 1992 as the Deputy United States Coordinator for Communication and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State, serving President H. W. Bush. Previously, Cleland served as a Senior Policy Advisor for Legislative Affairs to the then Secretary of State James A. Baker III. He received the Superior Honor Award for his role as the lead congressional briefer to Secretary Baker on all foreign policy matters during the first Gulf War and the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. Prior to that, he served as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Department of Treasury and as a Budget Examiner for OMB in the U.S. Executive Office of the President.


Scott Cleland earned a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin in 1984 and a BA in Political Science from Kalamazoo College in 1982. In 2000, Cleland earned Kalamazoo College's Distinguished Achievement Award.

Selected Media

  • New Europe, "How EU Amazon Antitrust Probe Spotlights Amazon as an Unlevel Playing Field." 10-11-18
  • Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fox News, "Google reportedly strengthens its Communist China ties," 8-1-18
  • Broadcasting and Cable Magazine, "The Five Spot Interview with Scott Cleland," 8-13-18
  • Ali Velshi, MSNBC, "Facebook Knows a Lot About You But Google Knows Lots More," 4-30-18
  • Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fox News, "Is Google Censoring Free Speech?," 8-16-17
  • The Diane Rehm Show, National Public Radio, "AT&T's Proposed Acquisition of Time Warner," 10-25-16
  • The Digital Post (EU), "Search + Android + Chrome = Google's Gatekeeper Inner-net Regime", 2-29-16
  • The Verge, "Internet providers prepare for war with FCC over expansion of net neutrality", 2-5-15
  • San Jose Mercury News, "Google to enter the wireless business", 1-22-15
  • CNBC/Nightly Business Report, "President Obama urges FCC reclassification of broadband Internet as a utility", 11-10-14
  • The Blaze, "Glenn Beck talks to Author Scott Cleland on Google & his book 'Search & Destroy'" 1-13-14
  • CBS Evening News, "Google Surveillance Far Surpasses the NSA," 6-11-13
  • The New York Times, "Google Concedes That Drive-by Prying Violated Privacy," " 3-13-13
  • The Diane Rehm Show, NPR,"FCC's Proposal for Nationwide Wireless Network," 2-5-13
  • The Diane Rehm Show, National Public Radio, "The Future of Landline Phones," 12-6-12
  • Managing IP Magazine, "Opinion: Google is waging war on IP law," 8-9-12
  • Fox News, "Breaking down Google Privacy Issue," Justice with Judge Jeanine, 7-10-12
  • Bloomberg West, Bloomberg TV, "EU May Rule Google Monopoly, Sanction Firm," 3-1-12
  • C-SPAN, "The Communicators: Scott Cleland on Google's Senate Antitrust Hearing," 9-23-11
  • Fox News, "Can You Trust Google?," Fox and Friends, 5-9-11
  •, "Scott Cleland's new book details why Google can't be trusted," 5-4-11
  • Investors Business Daily, "When Analysts Look Over Their Shoulders," Brian Deagon, 12-24-10
  • USAToday, "Google Takes Issue with Vocal Critics Gary Reback, Scott Cleland," 12-3-10
  • CNBC Street Signs, "Get Ready for Google TV," 8-18-10
  • CSPAN,"The Communicators: Scott Cleland & Markham Erickson on Net Neutrality," 12-4-09
  • Investors Business Daily; "Q&A Scott Cleland: Google Big Beneficiary of Lobbying" 9-12-08
  • Smart Money Magazine, "Side Effects" Eric Savitz, 8-06
  • PBS Frontline Special, "The Wall Street Fix," Produced by Hedrick Smith, 5-8-03
  • Fortune Magazine, "Calling WorldCom's Woes," Stephanie Mehta, 7-22-02
  • National Journal, "The Profits of Being Less Clueless," W. John Moore, 9-16-00

Selected Op-Eds

  • The Daily Caller, "There Is A Solid Conservative Antitrust Case Against Alphabet-Google." 1-19-18
  • The Daily Caller, "Treat The Cause, Not Symptoms, Of Google & Facebook's Election Unaccountability," 11-3-17
  • BuzzFeed News, "The Power of Facebook, Google and Amazon Is An Issue For the Left And Right, 9-7-17
  • The Hill, "Internet giants, not broadband providers are the top threat to consumers, 5-3-17
  • The Australian, "Google Out to Steal From Australians" 3-17-17
  • Daily Caller, "How Internet Commons Policies Lessen Growth, Jobs and Security,” 11-28-16
  • New Europe, "Why Google Can't Criticize EU Much for Ruling it Dominant & Anticompetitive", 2-26-16
  • The Daily Caller, "America's Upside Down Cyber-Priorities," 8-17-15
  • The Daily Caller, "The FCC's Title II Trifecta Gamble," 7-13-15
  • The Daily Caller, "How America Protects National Champion Google in EU," 3-5-15
  • The Daily Caller, "Who Pays for Net Neutrality?" 12-3-14
  • The Daily Caller, "Online Video Competition's Tipping Point Just Tipped," 4-8-14
  • The Daily Caller, "The de-Americanization of the Internet," 11-19-13
  • The Daily Caller, "New U.S. spectrum policy has big problems," 6-19-13
  • The Daily Caller, "Obsolete Privacy Law," 1-22-13
  • The Hill, "Courts, not FTC, Should Decide on Google Practices," 12-10-12
  • Politico, LTE on Google Politicization of antitrust review, 10-16-12
  • The Daily Caller, "US Government's wasteful hoarding & rationing of spectrum" 9-7-12
  • The Daily Caller, "Why U.S. Communications Law is Obsolete," 6-25-12
  • The Wall Street Journal, LTE -- Google and Microsoft cases are Different, 4-29-12
  • Forbes CIO Network, "Seven Ways the World is Changing the Internet," 1-11-12
  • Forbes CIO Network, "Obsolete Television Law Needs Modernization" 1-4-12
  • The Huffington Post, "Big Brother Inc.," 5-23-11
  • The Seattle Times, "Wake Up to Google's Threat to Journalism" 2-6-09
  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Googleopoly Darkens the Future of Innovation" 11-27-08
  • The Washington Times, "The Ultimate Internet Gatekeeper" 9-30-07
  • The Washington Times, "America's Unique Internet Success" 2-1-07
  • The Financial Times, "Follow the Money to Wall Street's Big Secret" 11-8-02

Book: Search & Destroy
Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

Book: Search & Destroy - Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

This is the other side of the Google story—the unauthorized book that Google does not want you to read. In Search & Destroy, Google expert Scott Cleland, shows that the world's most powerful company is not who it pretends to be.

Google pretends to be a harmless lamb, but chose a full-size model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex as its mascot. Beware the T-Rex in sheep's clothing.

Google has acquired far more information, both public and private, and has invented more ways to use it, than anyone in history. Information is power, and in Google's case, it's the power to influence and control virtually everything the Internet touches.

Learn More

Congressional Testimony

  • House Judiciary Competition Subcommittee, 9-16-10, Hearing on "Competition in the Evolving Digital Marketplace," "The Evolving Competition Digital Dichotomy & Why Googleopoly is the Main Antitrust Event"
  • Joint House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee, 6-18-09, Joint Hearing on Behavioral Advertising, "Why A Consumer-Driven, Technology/Competition-Neutral, Privacy Framework Is Superior to a Default ‘Finders Keepers Losers Weepers' Privacy Framework"
  • House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Internet Hearing, 9-17-08, "The Blind Eye to Privacy Law Arbitrage by Google -- Broadly Threatens Respect for Privacy"
  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee On Antitrust, 9-27-07, "Google-DoubleClick Merger and the Online Advertising Industry," "The Google-DoubleClick Anti-competitive Case"
  • Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, 10-19-05, "Video and Telecom Competition is Increasingly Vibrant and Here to Stay, Recommendations on Telecom Reform Legislation"
  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, 4-19-05, "Telecom Mergers in a Techcom World: How Antitrust Must Adapt to the Techcom Future"
  • Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, 2-11-04, Oversight Hearing, "Cable Competition - Increasing Price; Increasing Value?"
  • Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, 6-18-03, Oversight Hearing, "NewsCorp/Hughes Proposed Merger"
  • House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, June 18, 2003, 6-16-03, "Mutual Funds Integrity and Fee Transparency Act of 2003"
  • House Financial Services Oversight Subcommittee, 3-21-02, "Global Crossing's Bankruptcy: A Window Into a Broken System of Protecting Investors"
  • Senate Commerce Committee, Panel on Consumer Affairs, 12-18-01, Hearing on Enron Bankruptcy, "Conflicts of Interest Are Eroding the Market's Integrity and Internal Controls"
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, 6-14-01, "Who's Looking Out for Investors?"
  • House Judiciary Committee, June 5, 2001, 6-5-01 Oversight Hearing, "House Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001"
  • House Judiciary Committee, 7-18-00, Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1686, the "Internet Freedom Act" and H.R. 1685, the "Internet Growth and Development Act of 1999"
  • House Judiciary Committee, 6-30-99, House Internet Freedom Act and Internet Growth, Development Act of 1999
  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business Rights and Competition, 5-19-98, Telephone Industry Consolidation