Google’s 2015 Spending On Lobbying Tops $16 Million For Second Year, Leading 16 Tech And Communications Companies; Facebook, Amazon, Apple Post Records

SANTA MONICA, CA – Google’s federal lobbying expenses in 2015 topped $16 million for the second year in a row, according to records just filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and analyzed today by Consumer Watchdog.

Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, monitors the lobbying disclosure reports of 16 tech and communications companies. Facebook, Apple and Amazon each set corporate records for the amount they each spent.

Google’s closest rival for spending the most money to influence federal laws and regulations in the group of 16 companies was Comcast, which reported spending $15.63 million, the records show.

“These companies are spending millions to buy the outcomes 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 $16.66 million on lobbying in 2015 compared with $16.83 million in 2014, a 1 percent decrease. Google’s fourth quarter lobbying expenditure was $3.29 million a 10 percent decrease from $3.78 million in 2014.  The lobbying disclosure reports are still being filed in Google’s name, not that of the newly created holding company, Alphabet.

Microsoft, Google’s archrival, which used to regularly outspend the Internet giant, spent roughly half of what Google spent. Microsoft reported spending $8.49 million, a 2 percent increase from $8.33 million spent on 2014 lobbying.  Fourth quarter lobbing expenses were $2.47 million compared to $2.25 million, a 9.1 percent increase from 2014.

Facebook, which has substantially increased its Washington presence over the last four years, posted another company record in its effort to influence policymakers.  Spending increased 5.5 percent to $9.85 million from $9.34 million in 2014.  Fourth quarter spending was $2.13 million compared to $1.99 million in 2014, an increase of 7 percent.

Amazon also posted a company record its disclosure forms show. Amazon’s reported lobbying expenditures soared 91.4 percent to $9.07 million compared to $4.74 million in 2014. Fourth quarter spending was $2.99 million vs. $1.67 million, an increase of 79 percent.

Apple, too, is increasing its Washington activities. It spent $4.48 million in 2015 compared to $4.11 million in 2014, a record and a 9 percent increase from 2014.  Fourth quarter spending was $1.03 million vs. $1.19 million, a 13.4 percent decrease.

Here are the 2015 lobbying amounts for five other tech firms:

— Cisco spent $2.69 million compared to $2.35 million in 2014, a 14.5 percent increase from 2014. Fourth quarter spending was $850,000 vs. $310,000, an increase of 174 percent.

— IBM spent $4.63 million, a 6.5 percent decrease from $4.95 million in 2014. Fourth quarter spending was  $960,000 vs. $1.15 million, a decrease of 16.5 percent.

— Intel spent $4.55 million in 2015, a 19.7 percent increase from $3.80 million in 2014. Fourth quarter spending was  $1.03 million vs. $980,000, an increase of 5.1 percent.

— Oracle spent  $4.46 million, a decrease of 23.5 percent from $5.83 million in 2014.  Fourth quarter spending was $1.98 million vs. $1.66 million, an increase of 19.2 percent.

— Yahoo spent $2.84 million in 2015, a decrease of 3.4 percent from $2.94 million in 2014. Fourth quarter spending was $690,000 vs. $740,000, a decrease of 6.8 percent.

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

— AT&T spent $14.86 million, a 2.1 percent increase from $14.56 million in 2014. Fourth quarter spending was $3.49 million vs. $3.06 million, an increase of 14.1 percent.

— Sprint spent  $2.83 million, a 5.4 percent decrease from $2.99 million in 2014. Fourth quarter spending was $635,313 vs. 772,658, a decrease of 17.8 percent.

–T-Mobile spent $6.14 million, an increase of 1.7 percent from $6.04 million in 2014. Fourth quarter spending was $1.97 million vs. $1.30 million, an increase of 51.5 percent.

— Verizon spent $11.43 million, an increase of 1.9 percent from $11.22 million in 2014.  Fourth quarter spending was $2.52 million vs. $2.97 million, a decrease of 15.2 percent.

Here are 2015 lobbying expenditures for two cable companies:

— Comcast spent  $15.63 million in 2015, a 7 percent decrease from $16.8 million in 2014.  Fourth quarter spending was $3.94 million vs. $5.03 million, a 21.7 percent decrease.

— Time Warner Cable spent $6.8 million in 2015, a 13.2 percent decrease from $7.83 million in 2014.  Fourth quarter spending was $1.85 million vs. $2.2 million, a decrease of 15.9 percent.

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

Published by John M. Simpson

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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