Last year, lobbying by tech companies hit an all-time high in Washington, D.C. Ten of the largest technology companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, spent more than $61 million lobbying Washington, D.C. in 2013, according to an analysis of records filed by Consumer Watchdog.
This year is starting out no differently.
Facebook has set a new company record for lobbying expenditures in the first quarter of 2014, drawing closer to industry leader Google in efforts to influence federal lawmakers on a variety of issues. During the first three months of 2014, Facebook spent a personal best of $2.78 million to pay lobbyists to talk to lawmakers about issues such as privacy, security, online tracking, online advertising, patent litigation reform and immigration reform, a congressional lobbying report filed April 21 shows. Facebook, which began lobbying in the third quarter of 2009, spent more than $1 million for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2012 and has not dipped below that amount since then.
In the first quarter of 2013, Facebook spent $2.45 million on lobbying efforts, a 277 percent increase from $650,000 a year earlier. Facebook spent the money in 2013 to give their views on international regulation of the Internet, privacy and security policies, online advertising and discussions on tax issues and stock options.
On the other hand, Google spent $3.82 million lobbying with consultants for help with roughly the same lineup of privacy, intellectual property and open Internet issues targeted by their competitors. During the past year, Google held steady by spending somewhere in the mid-$3 million range for their lobbying efforts. Google’s first quarter spending marked a slight decrease from the last quarter of 2014, when it spent $3.98 million, but an increase from the $3.35 million it doled out in the first quarter last year.
Twitter also broke records for lobbying by spending $50,000 in the first three months of 2014, marking a $10,000 increase since it first filed a lobbying disclosure in the third quarter of last year. Service providers such as AT&T and Verizon spent $3.67 million and $3.35 million, respectively, in the first quarter according to disclosures.