Google spent a record $16.83 million on lobbying last year, barely edging out Comcast's $16.8 million, in efforts to influence policy decisions, based on records filed with the Clerk of the House, according to the nonpartisan public interest group Consumer Watchdog.
Google and Comcast topped the list of the 15 technology and communications companies that spent the most money on lobbying efforts, Consumer Watchdog said. Facebook, Apple and Amazon also spent record amounts last year. Taken together, the top 15 spent a total of $116.62 million on lobbying in 2014, a 3% decrease from 2013's total of $120.28 million.
While six of the companies increased spending from 2013 levels -- Facebook (up 45% to $9.34 million from $6.43 million), Amazon (up 35% to $4.74 million from $3.46 million), Apple (up 22% to $4.11 million from $3.37 million), Google (up 20% from $14.06 million), Sprint (up 9% to $2.99 million from $2.75 million) and Yahoo (up 6% to $2.94 million from $2.78 million) -- the other nine companies showed decreased outlays, according to the Clerk of the House’s Lobbying Disclosure database, Consumer Watchdog said.
Notably, Comcast and Time Warner Cable were among those with decreased spending, despite waiting on approval for their pending merger. Comcast's $16.8 million expenditure was down 10% from 2013's $18.71 million, while TWC's $7.83 million was down 6% from its $8.29 million in 2013.
Rounding out the top 15 spenders in the tech/communications sector were AT&T ($14.56 million), Verizon ($11.22 million), Microsoft ($8.33 million), Oracle ($5.83 million), IBM ($4.95 million), Intel ($3.8 million) and Cisco ($2.35 million).
“It’s important to understand just how much money these companies are throwing around in Washington to buy the policies they want,” John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director, said. “Policymaking is now all about big bucks, not big ideas.”