Faced with a federal antitrust investigation, a slew of patent lawsuits and a pair of controversial bills in Congress, Google has been stepping up its lobbying game in Washington, D.C., according to figures compiled by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.
In fact the whole tech sector has increased its spending on lobbying efforts, at a time when overall expenditures for lobbying by U.S. companies in all sectors has declined, the center said in a report this week.
Google spent over $13 million to make sure its views on a variety of policy matters were heard in the halls of Congress this year, according to figures on OpenSecrets.org, the nonprofit center’s blog. Google’s newly acquired Motorola Mobility subsidiary spent another $1.3 million. All told, that’s nearly $5 million more than Google spent last year.
The Internet search giant led the pack in lobbying expenditures by tech companies, followed by Microsoft (which spent $5.6 million), and Hewlett-Packard ($5.4 million) and Oracle ($3.8 million.)
The CRP reports that Google focused heavily on opposing two controversial bills, joining the campaign by many in the tech industry who felt the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act could lead to censorship and stifle innovation.
Microsoft, meanwhile, focused more of its lobbying effort on supporting tax-related bills – one that would lower taxes for overseas revenue earned by U.S. companies, and another that extended the R&D tax credit, according to the center’s blog.
Another notable player, Facebook – which is also concerned with privacy and data-collection issues – more than doubled its lobbying expenditures from 2011. Facebook ranked eighth on the center’s list of tech companies, with a spending total of $2.6 million.
Congress is back in session this month, the center’s Reid Davenport noted, so those totals could increase before the year is over.