Google and Facebook lobby expense reports likely to set new records Wednesday

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Lobbying expenditure reports are due to be filed with the the Senate Office of Public Records Wednesday and you can expect record expenditures from both Facebook and Google.

Driven by an antitrust probe, Google could even outspend Microsoft in it's arm-twisting campaign.

Our friends at the Center for Responsive Politics' will crunch all the numbers and report on industry trends sector by sector within the next few weeks.

If you want data on specific companies immediately you can search the Senate Office of Public database records yourself very easily.

Google has been pumping more and more money into influence peddling since it opened its Washington, DC, office in 2005. Last year lobbying totaled $5.2 million for the Internet giant and in the first quarter the company spent a record $1.48 million, up 7 percent from the comparable quarter in 2010.

Facebook didn't start lobbying seriously until recently, but the company is substantially increasing what it spends to twist arms and win friends. In all of 2010 the social network shelled out $351,000. Already in the 1st quarter it "friended" policymakers to the tune of $230,000.  Given recently announced hires of political heavy-hitters like Joe Lockhart and Tucker Bounds, it's clear Facebook's lobby shop is expanding. You can expect another record quarter.

Though Facebook is spending more than ever, I doubt that it will match Google's outlay yet. What is possible is that Google's lobbying expenditures could top those of long-time rival Microsoft, which has traditionally spent more on its influence peddling than the company vowing, "Don't Be Evil."

Last year, Microsoft outspent Google $6.9 million to $5.2 million.  In the first quarter it was Microsoft,  $1.72 million and Google, $1.42 million.  What could be a game-changer, however, is the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust probe of Google.

When word of the long overdue probe was confirmed, Google executives announced:

"We respect the FTC’s process and will be working with them (as we have with other agencies) over the coming months to answer questions about Google and our services

"It’s still unclear exactly what the FTC’s concerns are, but we’re clear about where we stand."

Soon after that Google said it was hiring 12 new lobbying firms. "We have a strong story to tell about our business and we’ve sought out the best talent we can find to help tell it,”  Google  told POLITICO.

Hell of a way to "work with" the FTC, I'd say.  Hire more spinmeisters from Gucci Gulch and pump in truckloads of cash.

John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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