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Google CEO Larry Page Has Lost His Voice, But Internet Giant Continues Spending Record Sums To Be Heard In Washington; Facebook Also Sets Record

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Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm

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Google CEO Larry Page Has Lost His Voice, But Internet Giant Continues Spending Record Sums To Be Heard In Washington; Facebook Also Sets Record

WASHINGTON, DC – Google and Facebook continued pumping record amounts of money into their lobbying efforts during the second quarter to influence federal lawmakers and regulators, according to lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Google’s second quarter lobbying spending soared 90 percent to $3.92 million compared to $2.06 million in the comparable 2011 period, the records filed last Friday night showed. For the first six months of the year Google spent $8.95 million. That compares with $3.54 million in the first six months of 2011.  It comes close to the $9.7 million spent in all of 2011.

Facebook set a record for its spending as well, the disclosure forms show.  The social networking company spent $960,000, a 200 percent increase from $320,000 in the second quarter of 2011. Facebook spent $650,000 in the first quarter of 2012 compared to $230,000 in the first quarter of 2011. Facebook’s lobbying expenses totaled $1.61 million for the first six months.

“Maybe CEO Larry Page has lost his voice, but Google executives are throwing around boatloads of money to make sure they are heard in Washington,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director.  “Google claims its motto is ‘Don’t Be Evil,’ but the amount  of cash they are throwing around demonstrates an astounding cynicism.”

Page was not on last week’s earnings conference call.  He also did not appear at the annual shareholders’ meeting in June or the annual developers’ conference the following week. Company executives have only said he has lost his voice, but have given no details. They say Page continues to run the company and is involved in any strategic decisions.

“Sadly it looks as though Facebook is following Google’s lead in throwing money around Washington in an attempt to wield influence,” Simpson said.

Following are lobbying disclosures by other tech and telecommunications companies:

Microsoft spent $2.01 million in the second quarter an 8.6 percent increase from $1.85 million in the second quarter a year ago.  Its first quarter lobbying expenses were $1.79 million up from $1.72 million a year ago. For the six months, Microsoft spent $3.80 million.

Apple spent $470,000 in the second quarter, a 41 percent decrease from $790,000 a year ago.  In the first quarter Apple spent  $500,000 a slight decrease from $560,000 in the comparable period a year ago. For the six months Apple spent $970,000.

Amazon spent $690,000 in the second quarter, a 53 percent increase from $450,000 a year ago.    The first quarter expense was $650,000, up slightly from $630,000 a year ago.  Total lobbying expenses for the first half were $1.34 million.

Yahoo! spent $730,000 compared to $640,000 a year ago, an increase of 14 percent.  First quarter lobbying expenses increased to $650,000 from $580,000 in 2011. First half lobbying expenses totaled $1.38 million.

Verizon spent $3.94 million, a decrease of 10 percent from $4.38 million.  In the first quarter it spent $4.51 million compared to $4.68 million a year ago. It spent a total of $8.5 million in the first six months.

AT&T spent $3.49 million a decrease of 28 percent from  $4.85 million in 2011.  In the first quarter it spent $7.05 million compared to $6.84 million a year ago.  So far this year it has spent a total of  $10.5 million.

View the Clerk of the House of Representatives Lobbying Disclosure Database here: http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldsearch.aspx.

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

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 361 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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