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Google and Facebook lobby expense reports likely to set new records Wednesday

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Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm

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Google and Facebook  lobby expense reports likely to set new records Wednesday

Lobbying expenditure reports are due to be filed with the the Senate Office of Public Records Wednesday and you can expect record expenditures from both Facebook and Google.
Driven by an antitrust probe, Google could even outspend Microsoft in it’s arm-twisting campaign.

Our friends at the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org will crunch all the numbers and report on industry trends sector by sector within the next few weeks.

If you want data on specific companies immediately you can search the Senate Office of Public database records yourself very easily.

Google has been pumping more and more money into influence peddling since it opened its Washington, DC, office in 2005. Last year lobbying totaled $5.2 million for the Internet giant and in the first quarter the company spent a record $1.48 million, up 7 percent from the comparable quarter in 2010.

Facebook didn’t start lobbying seriously until recently, but the company is substantially increasing what it spends to twist arms and win friends. In all of 2010 the social network shelled out $351,000. Already in the 1st quarter it “friended” policymakers to the tune of $230,000.  Given recently announced hires of political heavy-hitters like Joe Lockhart and Tucker Bounds, it’s clear Facebook’s lobby shop is expanding. You can expect another record quarter.

Though Facebook is spending more than ever, I doubt that it will match Google’s outlay yet. What is possible is that Google’s lobbying expenditures could top those of long-time rival Microsoft, which has traditionally spent more on its influence peddling than the company vowing, “Don’t Be Evil.”

Last year, Microsoft outspent Google $6.9 million to $5.2 million.  In the first quarter it was Microsoft,  $1.72 million and Google, $1.42 million.  What could be a game-changer, however, is the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust probe of Google.

When word of the long overdue probe was confirmed, Google executives announced:

“We respect the FTC’s process and will be working with them (as we have with other agencies) over the coming months to answer questions about Google and our services

“It’s still unclear exactly what the FTC’s concerns are, but we’re clear about where we stand.

Soon after that Google said it was hiring 12 new lobbying firms. “We have a strong story to tell about our business and we’ve sought out the best talent we can find to help tell it,”  Google  told POLITICO.

Hell of a way to “work with” the FTC, I’d say.  Hire more spinmeisters from Gucci Gulch and pump in truckloads of cash.

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 350 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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