Google Spends More on Lobbying Than Apple, Facebook, Microsoft Combined
When it comes to getting its voice heard on legislation in Congress, Google isn’t taking any chances.
Indeed, Google, which has been under increased scrutiny for its privacy practices, spent a record $5 million on lobbying Congress between January and March of this year.
That’s a 240% increase from the amount it spent during the same quarter in 2011, and a 30% jump from the last quarter of 2011.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company racked up a higher lobbyist bill than that of Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Facebook combined for the same time period. Microsoft was the technology sector’s biggest spender on lobbying until the middle of last year.
Google has been hiring extra lobbyists to defend the company from a series of investigations into Google’s privacy and antitrust practices, driving up its bill.
The company is the subject of an ongoing antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, which has set out to determine if the company has taken advantage of its dominance in search to bulldoze its way into new markets.
The company was also recently slapped with a $25,000 fine from the Federal Communications Commission for impeding an investigation into allegations that the company’s Street View cars collected large swaths of data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
Google’s lobbying Congress on a host of issues, including online advertising, copyright and patents, cybersecurity, online privacy and “do-not-track” laws and high-tech education and immigration.
The filings show that Google has been actively lobbying around the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, among other legislation.
Google was among SOPA’s most vocal detractors. It has not taken a public stance on CISPA, but it’s reportedly working behind the scenes to change the bill to its liking.
A Google attorney spoke out against ACTA in early March of last year.
In February, former Congresswoman Susan Molinari was hired as the chief of Google’s Washington, D.C. office. Molinari will be tasked with leading Google’s efforts to connect with the U.S. and other governments. However, she did not start in her new role until mid-March.
Read Google’s lobbying disclosure forms online. Google did not immediately return a request for comment.
Why do you think Google’s getting serious about its lobbying efforts in Washington? Sound off in the comments below.
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