Twitter and Uber both ramped up their efforts to influence members of Congress through political lobbying in the first three months of the year, reveals new data. According to disclosures filed on Wednesday, both companies stood out among their peers in the tech industry, which registered a marginal increase or even lowered their lobbying expenditures compared to the last year.
Twitter, Uber up lobbying spending significantly
Last quarter, Uber almost tripled its spending from $110,000 last year to $320,000 this year, while Twitter almost doubled its spending from $90,000 in 2015 to $170,000 in the first three months of this year. In 2015, Uber increased its spending to $470,000 from $170,000 in 2014. The company remained in the regulatory spotlight throughput 2015. In 2015, Twitter increased its lobbying spending by 61% to $500,000.
Depending on the legislative efforts underway that help or create a problem in their business, the amount the companies spend tends to reduce or increase. In recent years, the telecommunications industry has been among the biggest lobbyists, but Internet companies are becoming major spenders fast as well.
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In 2014, John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director, said, “Policymaking in Washington is all about how much money you can throw around. These tech guys are increasingly willing to spend whatever it takes to buy what they want.”
Most of the spending is not done directly, though there are organizations that have their own lobbyists on staff. Most of the companies take help from one or more D.C.-based lobbying companies which lobby for the company and also keep it informed on upcoming related legislation.
How much are others spending?
Facebook increased its spending 14% from the first three months of last year to $2.8 million, and this is a record for the company. The social networking site named government surveillance, Internet advertising, child online protection, and immigration reform among the areas in which it lobbied.
AT&T was the biggest tech spender. The company spent $4.5 million, which is 2% higher from last year, in its D.C. lobbying efforts. Google was not far behind, spending $3.8 million, a drop of 25% from last year. Oracle increased its spending to $2.6 million, which is 39% more than last year, whereas Verizon spent $3.6 million, which is up 7%.
Another tech giant that increased its spending is Microsoft, which spent $2 million, which is up 7% from previous year. Apple spent $1.1 million on lobbying during the first three months of the year, which is down 9%. The iPhone maker spent on issues like corporate tax reform, energy efficiency, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, mobile payments, safe driving, and patents.