Last quarter, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) spent $5.03 million lobbying lawmakers. The company said the primary sources for lobbying were for web-based piracy, advertising, competition and international tax reform. For Google, $5 million is not a normal amount when it comes to lobbying. In the first quarter of 2011, Google spent only $1.48 million and $3.76 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. For a more in depth look at the increased spending, we turn to CNET’s Lance Whitney who had this explanation as to why Google spent $5 million lobbying in the first quarter:
“The search giant devoted lobby dollars to H.R. 1389 – Global Online Freedom Act of 2011, a Congressional bill designed to prevent U.S. companies from cooperating with repressive foreign governments in using the Internet for censorship and surveillance. Google has of course squared off in the past with China over the censorship of its search results.The company lobbied for H.Con.Res. 114, a bill ‘expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should preserve, enhance, and increase access to an open, global Internet” (9to5google.com).
Google is not the only company that is throwing down large sums of money for lobbying. Facebook spent $650,000 on lobbying during the first quarter. In total for 2011, Facebook spent $1 million in lobbying and they have already spent over half of that in the first quarter. Like Google, Facebook was fighting anti-piracy bills in Washington as well as other new regulation.
Apple Inc also spent money lobbying in the first quarter. The company spent $500,000 during the first quarter.
Technology companies were not the only sector present in Washington for lobbying purposes. The gaming sector was there in force led by Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR) who spent $886,000 during the first quarter. Surprisingly enough, a good deal of lobbying done by the gaming industry had to do with the government’s crackdown on online gaming after US authorities had to seize some websites last year that turned out to be ponzi schemes.
It is amazing to see how much money is thrown around in an effort to “persuade” the government every quarter. This has been a huge sore spot for some lawmakers who are against how much power lobbyists have. It is an age old issue that will never truly be resolved. You can place this next to the “campaign spending” disaster as well. From a company perspective, lobbying is important to help prevent any bills becoming laws that could affect business.