By Tanvi Acharya, Associate Editor, USDR
Google spent $5.03 million on lobbying in the second quarter of 2014, matching a company record and well ahead of 14 other technology and communications companies in spending, according to records filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and analyzed by Consumer Watchdog on Tuesday.
Google’s spending in the second quarter, matched its record highest for a single quarter, which was set in the first quarter of 2012. It was a 50 percent increase from the second quarter of last year, which was $3.36 million.
Facebook, which has substantially increased its Washington presence over the last two years, doubled down on its efforts to buy influence in Washington. It spent $2.12 million, an increase of 100 percent in 2014 from $1.06 million in 2013. The amount was a slight decline from the first quarter of 2014 when the social networking giant spent $2.78 million.
“Power in Washington is all about who has the money and is willing to spend it,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. “This group of powerful companies, led by Internet giant Google, is clearly willing to spend whatever the companies think necessary to buy the laws and regulations they want.”
Amazon set a company record for its spending, topping a $1 million in a quarter for the first time. It spent $1.06 million in the second quarter of 2014, a 23 percent increase from $860,000 in 2013.
Google’s archrival Microsoft, which until recently had outspent Google on lobbying efforts, spent $2.34 million, a 21 percent decrease from $2.96 million in 2013.
“These lobbying disclosure statements don’t include payments to trade associations or the sort of ‘soft’ lobbying that has become a Google trademark – funds to think tanks and academic research centers,” noted Simpson. “When all that is factored in, the amounts are staggering. Policy making is no longer about what’s right; it’s all about the money.”
Here is a link to the Clerk of the House’s Lobbying Disclosure database: http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldsearch.aspx
Here are the second quarter lobbying amounts for the six other tech firms compared with their figures from last year:
— Apple spent $840,000 in 2014, a 22 percent increase from $690,000 in 2013
— Cisco spent $720,000 in 2014, a 31 percent decrease from $900,000
— IBM spent $1.69 million in 2014, a 10 percent decrease from $1.88 million
— Intel spent $779,000.00in 2014, a 7 percent increase from $730,000
— Oracle spent $1.46 million in 2014, a 12 percent decrease from $1.66 million
— Yahoo spent $770,000 in 2014, a 7 percent increase from $720,000
Here are second quarter lobbying expenditures for three telecommunications companies:
— AT&T spent $3.82 million, a 2 percent increase from $3.74 million
— Sprint spent $728,365, a 12 percent increase from $652,546
— Verizon spent $3.47 million, a 6 percent increase from $3.27 million
Here are lobbying expenditures for two cable companies:
— Comcast spent $4.45 million, a 19 percent decrease from $5.47 million
— Time Warner Cable spent $1.90 million, a 4 percent decrease from $1.97 million