Google still leads consumer technology companies when it comes to lobbying legislators on Capitol Hill, but Facebook, Apple, and others are increasing their efforts. The search giant spent $3.4 million on lobbying in the third fiscal quarter of this year, according to a disclosure from the clerk of the US House of Representatives obtained by Consumer Watchdog.
Google's Q3 spending actually declined from the same period last year, when it spent $4.2 million amid a Federal Trade Commission investigation and ahead of the 2012 presidential election, but other firms saw their spending increase. Facebook's lobbying expenses jumped by 47 percent over the year to $1.4 million, while Apple spent $970,000 last quarter, compared to $460,000 in Q3 2012. Other notable spenders include Amazon, which increased lobbying expenses by 42 percent to $780,000, and Microsoft, which spent $2.2 million last quarter, up from $1.9 million in 2012. At the higher end of the spectrum are telecommunications providers Verizon ($3.04 million) and AT&T ($4.3 million).
Privacy, immigration, and self-driving cars
Making its disclosure debut this week was Twitter, which spent about $40,000 on lobbying last quarter. The company, moving ever closer to its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, lobbied lawmakers on issues including net neutrality, FISA and NSA surveillance reform, immigration, and "Do Not Track" legislation, according to the Washington Post. Both Facebook and Google lobbied for similar causes, Politico reports, with the latter pushing for legislation on self-driving vehicles.
Recent months have seen technology companies ramp up their political efforts with high-profile public campaigns. Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Bill Gates, and a group of other Silicon Valley business leaders created FWD.us, an organization that advocates for immigration reform. In 2012, Google joined Facebook, Amazon, and eBay to create the Internet Association, which lobbies on behalf of an "open, innovative, and free internet". In June, it was reported that Google's lobbying budget had become the eighth largest in the US, ahead of defense firm Lockheed Martin.