According to a report in CNET, based on public filings with the US Senate Office of Public Records, Google spending on federal lobbying exceeded that of rival Microsoft in 2011. Google reportedly spent $9.7 million to Microsoft’s $7.3 million in 2011.
Some decry the increase in Google lobbying as hypocrisy because lobbying is inherently “evil” and Google pledged to “do no evil.” In the scheme of things Google’s $9.7 is still relatively modest.
The top lobbying spender in 2011 was the truly evil US Chamber of Commerce at $46 million. Google isn’t in the top 20. Here’s the top 20 lobbying spenders according to OpenSecrets.org:
Google’s lobbying efforts apparently covered a wide range of issues, including regulation of online advertising, cyber security issues, Do Not Track, SOPA, consumer privacy, cloud computing and numerous others.
Google in some respects has no choice but to engage with Congress, which increasingly has come to mean lobbying. Indeed, lobbying is part of the “realpolitik” of doing business in Washington.
Would that it were not so.
(Photo of U.S. Capitol licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user natalie419)