Google increases spending on lobbying to $1.2 million

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Google increases spending on lobbying to $1.2 million

    SANTA MONICA, CA — Google increased its spending on lobbying 11 percent over the previous year to $1.2 million in the third quarter demonstrating the Internet giant’s willingness to spend to shape federal policy, Consumer Watchdog said today. In the comparable quarter a year ago Google spent $1.08 million.

    A key to Google’s lobbying effort is its well-connected Washington staff, the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group said. Taking advantage of Washington’s revolving door culture, most of Google’s lobbyists have worked for Congress or the executive branch. For example, Frannie Wellings was a Legislative Assistant to Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND).

    Disclosure records filed with the Senate Office of Public Records show Google has spent $3.92 million so far this year compared with $4.03 million in all of 2009.

    “Google has a group of well-connected lobbyists and is willing to spend freely to influence federal lawmakers and regulators,” said John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google Project. “They appear to be on track to spend a total of $5 million to peddle influence this year.”

    Among the issues Google tried to influence were online advertising regulation including privacy and competition issues, patent reform,  online consumer protection, cloud computing, renewable energy, smart  grid, Congressional Internet service usage rules and broadband access.

    Read Google’s third quarter report here.

    Google substantially outspent some rival tech companies. Apple’s third quarter expenditure was only $340,000, while Facebook spent $120,000 in the period. Facebook did double lobbying spending from $60,000 in the second quarter. However, software giant Microsoft said it spent $1.63 million in the third quarter.

    Here is a list of Google’s registered lobbyists who appeared on the third-quarter report and their backgrounds:

    Alan Davidson is Google’s director of Public Policy and  Government Affairs. He joined Google in 2005 from the Center for  Democracy and Technology. He has also worked on technology and policy  issues at the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment and for the  White House Office of Policy Development.

    Pablo Chavez is Google’s director of Public Policy. He  joined Google in 2006, having worked for Sen. John McCain as chief  counsel and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation as Senior Counsel.

    Johanna Shelton is Google’s senior policy counsel. She  joined Google in 2007 from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce,  where she was counsel from 2005-2007. Previously she worked for Rep.  Rich Boucher 2001-2003 as counsel and at the FCC 1998-2001 as a staff  attorney.

    Seth Webb joined Google’s Washington office in 2009 as  senior policy manager. He had worked at the House of Representatives in  several positions, including House Financial Services Committee 2009 as  Republican deputy staff director, House Republican Conference 2007-2008,  chief of staff, House legislative floor activities 2002-2006, senior  floor assistant and  House rules committee 2000-2002,  professional  staff.

    Harry Wingo
    joined Google in 2009 as policy counsel. He came  from CURRENT Group where he was executive VP from 2007-2009. Previously  he worked for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and  Transportation 2005-2007 as counsel and for the FCC 2003-2005, as Legal  advisor (wireless telecommunication) and Special counsel.

    Will DeVries joined Google in 2010 as policy counsel.  Previously he worked  was an attorney with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale  & Dorr.

    Robert Tai joined Google in 2007 as policy analyst.  Previously he worked for the Business Software Alliance 2004-2007 as  manager of Cyber Crime Prevention and for the planning and research  division of the California Governor’s office.

    Jennifer Taylor joined Google in 2010 as policy analyst. She  previous worked for the British Embassy 2004-2010 as senior policy  advisor and for Rep. Ron Lewis 2000-2002 as a legislative assistant.

    Frannie Wellings
    joined Google in 2009 as as a federal policy outreach manager. She was a Legislative Assistant to Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND).  Before working for Sen. Dorgan, she was the Associate Policy Director for Free Press. She previously spent two years as a Fellow at the Electronic Privacy Information Center and as director of the Public Voice project.

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    Consumer Watchdog, formerly the Foundation  for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer  advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica,  Ca.  Consumer Watchdog’s website is  Visit our new Google Privacy and Accountability Project website:

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