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Google Slashes Political Lobbying to $3.8m

Google slashed spending on lobbying by 25.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016 to $3.80 million, while AT&T reported the highest lobbying outlay at $4.48 million among a group of 16 tech and communications companies monitored by Consumer Watchdog.

Google spent $5.10 million in the comparable 2015 period and AT&T’s spending was up 2.5 percent from $4.37 million in 2015, according to disclosure reports just filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Facebook, which has been increasing its Washington presence, spent $2.78 million, an increase of 13.9 percent from $2.44 million, in the comparable 2015 quarter.

Microsoft also topped $2 million in lobbying spending. It reported expenditures of $2.02 million, an increase of 6.9 percent from $1.89 million in 2015.

Lobbying spending increased 39 percent at Amazon, to $ 2.65 million from $1.91 million in the first quarter of 2015, the disclosure records show. It was the fourth straight quarter that its spending topped $2 million.

Seven of the companies spent more than $2 million on lobbying, Consumer Watchdog noted. Twelve spent more than $1 million on lobbying in the first quarter.

“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.”

Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, monitors the lobbying disclosure reports of 16 tech and communications companies.

Half of the 16 companies increased their first quarter 2016 spending on lobbying and half decreased spending from 2015 first-quarter levels.

Here are lobbying expenditures for the first quarter of 2016 for six other tech companies:

Apple spent $1.13 million, an 8.9 percent decrease from $1.24 million.
Cisco spent $420,000, a 30 percent decrease from $600,000.
IBM spent $830,000 a 17 percent decrease from $1 million.
Intel spent $1.23 million, an increase of 5.1 percent from $1.17 million.
Oracle spent $1.72 million, an increase of 33.3 percent from $1.29 million.
Yahoo! spent $690,000, a 5.5 percent decrease from $730,000.

Here are lobbying expenses for three other communications companies in the first quarter 2016:

Sprint spent $523,041 a decrease of 28.8 percent from $734,927.
T-Mobile spent $1.80 million, an increase of 52.5 percent from $1.18 million.
Verizon spent $3.59 million, an increase of 7.2 percent $3.35 million.

Here are 2016 first quarter lobbying expenditures for two cable companies:

Comcast spent $3.72 million, a 19.5 percent decrease from $4.62 million.
Time Warner Cable spent $1.5 million, an 11.8 percent decrease from $1.7 million.

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