Google spent a record $16.83 million on lobbying to influence federal regulators and lawmakers in 2014, just beating out Comcast to be No. 1 in lobbying spending among the nation's 15 biggest tech and communications companies.
Google's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) lobbying expenses in Washington, D.C., rose 20% year over year in 2014, according to Consumer Watchdog, which bills itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group.
Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) spent $16.8 million on federal lobbying efforts last year, down 10% from 2013, according to records filed with the Clerk of the House and analyzed by Consumer Watchdog.
AT&T (NYSE:T) came in third place with $14.56 million, followed by Verizon (NYSE:VZ) with $11.22 million, Consumer Watchdog said in a news release Wednesday .
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) joined Google in setting corporate records with the amount they each spent on lobbying last year, says Consumer Watchdog.
Facebook came in fifth place with $9.34 million. Amazon was 10th with $4.74 million and Apple was 11th with $4.11 million. Facebook's spending was up 45% in 2014, Amazon's up 37% and Apple's up 22%.
The 15 companies spent a total of $116.62 million on lobbying in 2014, down 3% from $120.28 million in 2013. Six of the 15 companies increased their 2014 spending, while the rest cut back from 2013 levels.
"It's important to understand just how much money these companies are throwing around in Washington to buy the policies they want," John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's privacy project director, said in a statement. "Policymaking is now all about big bucks, not big ideas."