SANTA MONICA, CA – Google’s explanation for its soaring record spending on lobbying in Washington is disingenuous bafflegab, Consumer Watchdog said today.
The Internet giant reported it spent $5.9 million lobbying during the first three quarters of the year, a 51 percent increase from the $3.9 million it spent in the comparable period a year earlier. In all of 2010 Google spent $5.2 million to influence policy makers.
Company spokesman Samantha Smith offered this explanation: “We want to help policy makers understand our business and the work we do to keep the Internet open, to encourage innovation and to create economic opportunity. Lobbying is part of that process.”
Consumer Watchdog disputed the self-serving claim.
“The fact is the company is facing a well-deserved antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and wants to escape any consequences for its anticompetitive behavior,” said John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project. “They’ve got billions in profits stashed in off-shore tax havens and are pressing for a tax-holiday to bring it into the United States.”
Studies have shown that the last time a tax holiday was tried in 2004 there was little impact on hiring or domestic investment. Most of the money was used by the companies bringing back profits at bargain tax rates to pay dividends or buy back stock.
“Google simply wants to buy influence. It’s the American corporate way,” said Simpson. “Google’s attempt to dress it up as an educational effort doesn’t change the stark reality.”
Google spent $2.4 million in the third quarter, up from $2.1 million in the second quarter and $1.2 million in the third quarter of 2010, lobby reports show.
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