Google and Facebook both increased their spending trying to educate (read: influence) Congress in the second quarter, according to filings made under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. Companies that employ lobbyists must file these reports on a quarterly basis.
The disclosures show that Facebook spent just under $1 million ($960,000) on lobbying in Q2, up from $650,000 in Q1 2012. That compares with $320,000 spent trying to influence lawmakers in Q2, 2011.
A wide range of bills and issues were cited on Facebook’s disclosures. Among them privacy, intellectual property reform, corporate taxes and immigration (see below). Many of the descriptions on the form are framed as “education” or “discussions”:
Education regarding Internet media information security policy and Internet privacy issues; federal privacy legislation; freedom of expression on the Internet; education regarding Facebook’s tag-suggest feature.
Google spent just over $3.9 million trying to influence Congress in Q2 (see below), down from more than $5 million in Q1 but still more than the same period a year ago. Google’s 1H lobbying thus totaled almost $9 million, putting above rivals in the tech sector.
Google’s lobbying spending was on par with Verizon, which spent $3.94 million in the second quarter. By comparison Microsoft spent roughly $2 million in Q2 and Yahoo spent about $730,000 last quarter. Apple spent just under $500,000 ($470,000). Amazon spent $690,000 in the second quarter, which was up from the $650,000 spent in Q1.
Whether your regard these expenditures as “education” or influence buying, lobbying has become a seemingly necessary cost of doing business for technology companies in Washington.
If you’d like to search the database for more disclosures you can do so here.