Google Spends Record $5.47 Million On 1st Quarter Lobbying; Comcast Outlay Soars 50 Percent To $4.62 Million While Amazon Posts 130 Percent Increase To $1.91 Million

WASHINGTON, DC — Google spent a record $5.47 million on lobbying during the first quarter of 2015, an increase of 43 percent from $3.82 million in the comparable 2014 period, according to disclosures just filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Comcast, which is seeking approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department for a merger with Time Warner Cable spent $4.62 million in the quarter, an increase of 50 percent from $3.09 million in the first quarter of 2014.  The two giants were the biggest lobbying spenders among 16 tech and communications companies monitored by Consumer Watchdog.

Lobbying spending soared 130 percent at Amazon, hitting $1.91 million in the first quarter of 2015, up from $830,000 a year earlier, the disclosure records show.

The Google and Comcast increases came as most other tech and communications companies slightly trimmed or held their lobbying costs flat, the House records show. Google’s second highest first-quarter spending was $5.03 million in 2012 when the Internet giant was facing an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

“Even though many companies slightly trimmed their first-quarter spending, it’s important to understand just how much money these companies are throwing around in Washington to buy the policies they want,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director. “Policymaking is now all about big bucks, not big ideas.”

Check the House Clerk’s lobbying disclosure database here:

Facebook, which has been increasing its Washington presence, spent $2.44 million, a decrease of 12 percent from $2.78 million in the comparable 2014 quarter. Microsoft, Google’s archrival, which used to regularly outspend the Internet giant, spent $1.89 million, a decrease of 9 percent from $2.08 million.

Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, monitors the lobbying disclosure reports of 16 tech and communications companies. Nine of the 16 companies decreased their first quarter 2015 spending on lobbying, while seven increased spending from 2014 first-quarter levels.

Here are lobbying expenditures for the first quarter for six other tech companies:

— Apple spent $1.24 million, a 16 percent increase from $1.07 million.

— Cisco spent $600,000 a 2 percent increase from $590,000.

— IBM spent  $1 million a decrease of 21 percent from $1.26 million.

— Intel spent $1.17 million, a decrease of 5 percent from $1.23 million.

— Oracle spent $1.29 million, a decrease of 15 percent from $1.51 million.

— Yahoo spent $730,000 a 4 percent increase from $700,000.

One of four telecommunications companies increased its spending on lobbying, while three decreased expenditures in 2015:

— AT&T spent $4.37 million, an increase of 14 percent from $3.85 million.

— Sprint spent $734,927 a decrease of 6 percent from $784,707.

— T-Mobile spent, $1.18 million a decrease of 20 percent from $1.47 million.

— Verizon spent $3.35 million, a decrease of 6 percent from $3.55 million.

The other company in the cable sector besides Comcast monitored by Consumer Watchdog is Time Warner Cable. It spent $1.70 million in 2015, a decrease of 12 percent from $1.93 million.


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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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