While Twitter brings its Washington operation to life, what are companies like Google, Facebook and Apple spending their lobbying money on? Thankfully, it’s all public record so we can easily see what issues they’re spending the most time and money supporting or fighting. Using the information on OpenSecret.org, I took a spin through their top lobbying issues in 2012 and the results, while not shocking, are interesting.
- Google spent part of that $13 million lobbying against SOPA as well as supporting net neutrality bills. When will we see a Doodle about lobbying?
- Microsoft, like the rich, old fart it is, spent a good chunk of its $5.6 million lobbying tax issues, such as the R&D tax credit. They also spent money on immigration issues, advocating for expanded H1B Visas. Note to Microsoft lobbeirs: don't bother taking the Arizona delegation to dinner.
- Facebook, like Microsoft, spent part of their $2.59 million lobbying budget advocating for more high-skilled immigrants. Ironically, they also lobbied in favor of personal privacy and online security issues (no laughing) and spent money on “education regarding online advertising.”
- Amazon spent some of their $1.89 million on tax issues, such as an Internet sales tax, we assume opposing such a thing.
- Apple seems low on the list here, having only spent $1.43 million on lobbying, much of it on - are you sitting down? - copyright, patent and trademark issues.
- Zynga only spent $195,000 (possibly in Farm Bucks) to monitor legislation about the regulation and taxation of internet gambling.
- Red Hat spent some of their $90,000 to support the use of open source software in government, including opposing the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013. Who knew that the latter affects the former?
All in all, I was surprised how little these big companies spend on lobbying. But both Google and Facebook significantly increased their spending over 2011 (up from $9.68 million and $1.135, respectively) so it’ll be interesting to see if they keep increasing their lobbying budgets in the future. Also, will Twitter officially start lobbying and, if so, how much will they spend on issues that affect them?
Sadly, Jimmy Stewart was not available for comment.