What do you do if you're a gargantuan Internet company that's come under increased scrutiny, despite your "Don't-be-evil" mantra? Send in the lobbyists.
That's Google's solution. In the second quarter the company spent $950,000 lobbying lawmakers, regulators and the White House on issues ranging from cloud computing to copyright, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Google is facing antitrust scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice over the proposed Google Books settlement and the FTC is considering the possibility of antitrust violations because CEO Eric Schmidt serves on Apple's board of directors. We were among the first to point out antitrust problems with the book settlement and ask the DOJ to investigate.
Google's second quarter lobbying spending tops $880,000 in the first quarter and is a 30% increase from the second quarter of 2008 when the amount doled out to influence policy makers was $730,000.
The Journal's Jessica E. Vascellaro quotes Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich as giving this explanation:
“There is a growing number of issues being debated in Washington affecting the Internet and our users and we feel it is important to be involved in those debates."
Like I always say about corporate America: When the going gets tough, the money gets flowing.
And if the cash doesn't do the trick, Google has a few alumni in key Washington jobs. Among them is Andrew McLaughlin, who has recently joined the White House Office of Science and Technology as Deputy Technology Officer, Internet Policy.
McLaughlin used to be assistant treasurer and designated agent for Google's Poltical Action Committee. His Facebook page still lists him as part of the Google Network. Bet he won't "friend" me.