Google, Facebook, and Apple all spent more than ever on lobbying in 2014
In a sign indicating the ever-growing ties between Big Tech and Washington, Google gave $16.83 million to federal regulators and lawmakers last year, according to an analysis by Consumer Watchdog of records filed with the Clerk of the House. That's up from the $14.06 million the company spent on lobbying in 2013, setting a new corporate record for the search giant.
Among tech companies, Google led the pack in lobbying expenditures, edging out Comcast which spent $16.80 million. Facebook, Apple, and Amazon also spent more than they ever on lobbying, lining the pockets of politicians and bureaucrats to the tune of $9.34 million, $4.74 million, and $4.11 million, respectively. These figures constituted double-digit increases over the previous year for all three firms.
Meanwhile, some major tech firms decreased lobbying expenditures from 2013, like Microsoft which spent $8.33 million -- a 20 percent drop. Cisco, IBM, and Intel also cut back on lobbying in 2014.
So where does all this money go? Unfortunately, the filings themselves are fairly vague and merely list broad areas of lobbying interest, like "Regulation of online advertising" and "Privacy and data security issues." But it's not difficult to imagine where Google's political interests lie, particularly as it and other tech firms battle companies like Comcast over net neutrality. And if these latest filings prove anything, it's that Silicon Valley can now go toe-to-toe -- at least when it comes to cash -- with the more established lobbying strength of the telecommunications industry.