WASHINGTON DC — Google continues to pump record amounts into its effort to influence federal legislators and policymakers, spending $5.03 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2012, a 240 percent increase from the same quarter a year ago, according to new disclosures filed with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Consumer Watchdog said today that the record lobbying expenditures filed late Friday show that Google’s executives have completely bought into the corrupt Washington power game and are now outspending some companies known for major lobbying efforts.
During the first quarter Google also hired veteran political operative Susan Molinari, a former Congresswoman, to run its Washington office.
“Google claims its motto is ‘Don’t Be Evil,’ but the amount of cash they are throwing around demonstrates an astounding cynicism,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director.
Google’s first quarter expenditure of $5.03 million topped that of rival Microsoft, which disclosed lobbying expenditures of $1.79 million for the quarter. Google even outspent Verizon, which reported first quarter expenses of $4.51 million. The Internet giant still has not matched AT&T’s spending. The telecommunications company spent $7.34 million in the quarter.
Google’s lobbying spending has soared in the last two years. It spent $1.48 million in the first quarter of 2011. Google spent nearly as much in the first quarter of 2012 as it did in all of 2010, when it spent $5.2 million.
First quarter lobbying expenditures for other tech firms include: Apple, $500,000 compared to $560,000 a year ago and Facebook, $650,000 up from $230,000 a year ago. In the first quarter of 2011, AT&T spent $6.840 million; Microsoft, $1.72 million and Verizon, $4.68 million
In the past Google largely has tried to position its lobbying as an educational effort.
“Hiring Molinari shows that Google executives intend to play political hardball,” said Simpson. “Doubling down with the kind of money they’ve now put on the table shows they really mean business.”
Consumer Watchdog is a nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Santa Monica, CA. Find us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org