Google's heavy investment in lobbying has seen it become one of the 10 biggest spenders in Washington. Led by Susan Molinari, the company spent a record $18.2 million in 2012, attempting to win over lawmakers and regulators in the capital. Although it has been embroiled in a number of antitrust investigations and come under fire for its privacy policies from the likes of Microsoft, Google has spent some of its budget attempting to overhaul US immigration laws, revise US privacy controls, and lobby for Congress to reduce the power of so-called patent trolls.
Google spent a record $18.2 million in 2012
Spending more than $5 million in Q1 2012, Google's lobbying spend saw it overtake Verizon ($4.51 million) and Comcast ($4.55 million), quadrupling its quarterly lobbying spend since 2009. In those three months, it spent more than Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft combined. Over the year, its budget even surpassed established companies like US defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Molinari's tactics do appear to be working — Google successfully evaded damages following an investigation by the FTC and it fought against SOPA and PIPA in harmony with public outrage over the bills.
Looking forward, the company will join Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us lobbying group in pushing for changes to immigration policies that govern how long foreign students can remain in the US after they have finished their education. Molinari and Google will also campaign for the FCC to restrict wireless auctions so it can continue to expand its internet services, which could include a free nationwide Wi-Fi network.