Google dropped $5.16 million on lobbyists in 2010, according to the Lobbying Disclosure Act Database. The sum represents a 29% increase over the $4 million the company spent in 2009.
The search giant hired its first lobbyists in 2006 and has increased its spending in the category every year since.
With issues like net neutrality, online privacy and online tracking getting legislative attention in 2010, it’s no surprise that the company’s lobbying budget continued to increase throughout the year. Google spent more money on lobbyists in 2010 than Yahoo, Facebook and Apple combined, the lobbying disclosure database reveals.
Facebook, which filed its first lobbying disclosure in Q2 of 2009, paid lobbyists $351,390 last year, while Apple spent $1.6 million and Yahoo spent $2.21 million.
Google’s increasing monetary dedication to influencing policy decisions worries some privacy advocates who oppose the company’s policies.
“It’s a huge increase and shows that Google has become a high-stakes influence peddler throwing its weight around Washington like the rest of corporate America,” says John Simpson, a privacy advocate with Consumer Watchdog, a group that regularly opposes Google’s decisions.
The search giant spent about 33% less on lobbying than Microsoft, a company that generated almost 50% more revenue than Google last quarter.