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Google Spends Record $16.83 Million On 2014 Lobbying, Topping 15 Tech And Communications Companies; Facebook, Amazon, Apple Also Post Records

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John M. Simpson

SANTA MONICA, CA – Google spent a record $16.83 million on lobbying in its efforts to influence federal regulators and lawmakers in 2014, just ahead of Comcast’s reported $16.80 million, according to records filed with the Clerk of the House and analyzed today by Consumer Watchdog.

Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, monitors the lobbying disclosure reports of 15 tech and communications companies. Facebook, Apple and Amazon also set corporate records for the amount they each spent.  The 15 companies spent a total of $116.62 million on lobbying in 2014, a 3 percent decrease from a total of  $120.28 million in 2013.  Six of the 15 companies increased their 2014 spending, while the rest cut back from 2013 levels

“It’s important to understand just how much money these companies are throwing around in Washington to buy the policies they want,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director. “Policymaking is now all about big bucks, not big ideas.”

Here is a link to the Clerk of the House’s Lobbying Disclosure database: http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldsearch.aspx

Google spent $16.83 million on lobbying in 2014 compared with $14.06 million in 2013, a 20 percent increase. Google’s fourth quarter lobbying expenditure was $3.78 million, a decrease of 5 percent from $3.98 million, in 2013.

Microsoft, Google’s archrival, which used to regularly outspend the Internet giant, spent roughly half of what Google spent. Microsoft reported spending  $8.33 million, a decrease of 20 percent from $10.49 million spent on 2013 lobbying.  Fourth quarter lobbing expenses were  $2.25 million compared to a $2.77 million, a 19 percent decrease from 2013.

Facebook, which has substantially increased its Washington presence over the last three years, posted another company record in its effort to influence policymakers.  Spending soared 45 percent to $9.34 million from $6.43 million in 2013.  Fourth quarter spending was $1.99 million compared to $1.48 million, an increase of 39 percent.

Amazon also posted a company record its disclosure forms show. It reported lobbying expenditures of $4.74 million, a 37 percent increase from $3.46 million in 2013. Fourth quarter spending was $1.67 million vs. $960,000, an increase of 74 percent.

Apple, too, is increasing its Washington activities. It spent $4.11 million in 2014, a record and a 22 percent increase from $3.37 million spent in 2013.  Fourth quarter spending was $1.19 million vs. $990,000 a 20 percent increase.

Here are the 2014 lobbying amounts for five other tech firms:

-- Cisco spent $2.35 million in 2014, a 25 percent decrease from $3.12 million in 2013. Fourth quarter spending was $310,000 vs. $890,000 a decrease of 65 percent.

-- IBM spent $4.95 million in 2014 a 30 percent decrease from $7.06 million in 2013. Fourth quarter spending was  $1.15 million vs. $1.90 million, a decrease of 39 percent.

-- Intel spent $3.80 million in 2014, a 13 percent decrease from $4.39 million in 2013. Fourth quarter spending was $980,000 vs. $1.45 million vs., a decrease of 32 percent.

-- Oracle spent $5.83 million a decrease of 3 percent from  $5.99 million in 2013.  Fourth quarter spending was $1.66 million vs. $1.60 million, an increase of 4 percent.

-- Yahoo spent $2.94 million in 2014, an increase of 6 percent from $2.78 million in 2013. Fourth quarter spending was $740,000 vs. $720,000, an increase of 3 percent.

Two of three telecommunications companies decreased their spending on lobbying, while one increased expenditures in 2014:

-- AT&T spent $14.56 million, a 9 percent decrease from $15.94 million in 2012. Fourth quarter spending was $3.06 million vs. $3.64 million, a decrease of 16 percent.

-- Sprint spent $2.99 million, a 9 percent increase of from $2.75 million in 2013. Fourth quarter spending was $772,658 vs. $716,887, an increase of 8 percent.

-- Verizon spent $11.22 million, a decrease of 17 percent from $13.44 million in 2013.  Fourth quarter spending was $2.97 million vs. $3.46 million, a decrease of 14 percent.

Here are 2014 lobbying expenditures for two cable companies:

-- Comcast spent $16.8 million in 2014, a 10 percent decrease from $18.71 million in 2013.  Fourth quarter spending was $5.03 million vs. $4.78 million, a 5 percent increase.

-- Time Warner Cable spent  $7.83 million in 2014, a 6 percent decrease from $8.29 million in 2013.  Fourth quarter spending was $2.2 million vs. $2.49 million, a decrease of 12 percent.

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Visit Consumer Watchdog’s website at www.ConsumerWatchdog.org