Google Spends $3.94 Million On 3rd Quarter Lobbying; Comcast Spends $4.23 Million; Facebook Lists $2.45 Million As Amazon Sets Record Of $1.18 Million, Reports Show

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SANTA MONICA, CA – Google spent $3.94 million lobbying the federal government in the third quarter, off from its record $5.30 million in the previous quarter, but up 17 percent from $3.37 million in the comparable period in 2013, according to records just filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and analyzed today by Consumer Watchdog.

Of 15 tech and communications companies' lobbying spending monitored by Consumer Watchdog only Comcast, which is seeking approval for a $45 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable spent more than the Internet giant, reporting lobbying costs for the third quarter of $4.23 million.  Nine of the 15 companies monitored trimmed their expenditures compared to the third quarter of 2013.

Facebook spent $2.45 million, topping $2.12 million spent in the second quarter, but not quite matching their record $2.78 million spent in the first quarter.  Third-quarter spending by the social network in 2014 increased 70 percent from $1.44 million in 2013.

Amazon set another company record for its spending, $1.18 million, spending more than $1 million in a quarter for the second time.  Amazon's lobbying outlay was a 51 percent increase from $780,000 in 2013. Amazon spent $1.06 million in the second quarter of 2014.

Google's archrival Microsoft, which until recently had outspent Google on lobbying efforts, trimmed its outlay to $1.66 million, decrease of 26 percent from $2.23 million in 2013.  It was also below second quarter spending of  $2.34 million.

"These lobbying disclosure statements don't include payments to trade associations or the sort of 'soft' lobbying that has become a Google trademark – funds to think tanks and academic research centers," noted Simpson. "When all that is factored in, the amounts are staggering. Policymaking is no longer about what's right; it's all about the money."

(Update: Sena Fitzmaurice, Comcast's vice president for government communications, called to explain that a portion of trade assocaition dues, based on the lobbying done by the association, such as the National Cable and Telecommunications Assiciation, is in fact included in Comcast's total reported lobbying amount. The figure is not broken out anywhere, but the trade association reports what it spent on lobbying. NCTA spent $3.81 million on lobbying in the third quarter, House disclosure records show.)

View the Clerk of the House's Lobbying Disclosure database here:

Here are the third quarter lobbying amounts for the six other tech firms:
— Apple spent $1.01 million in 2014, a 4 percent increase from $970,000 in 2013.
— Cisco Systems spent $730,00 in 2014, an 18 percent decrease from $890,000 in 2013.
— IBM spent $850,000 in 2014, a 28 percent decrease from $1.18 million in 2013.
— Intel spent $810,000 in 2014, a 23 percent decrease from $1.12 million in 2013.
— Oracle spent $1.20 million in 2014, a 12 percent decrease from $1.36 million in 2013.  
— Yahoo spent $730,000 in 2014, a 16 percent increase from $630,000 in 2013.

Here are third quarter lobbying expenditures for three telecommunications companies:
— AT&T spent $3.47 million, a 19 percent decrease from $4.30 million in 2013.
— Sprint spent $706,343, a 2 percent decrease from $718,096 in 2013.
— Verizon spent $2.91 million, a 4 percent decrease from $3.04 million in 2013.

Here are lobbying expenditures for two cable companies:
— Comcast spent $4.23 million, a 6 percent increase from $3.98 million in 2013.
— Time Warner Cable spent $1.80 million, an 8 percent decrease from $1.96 million in 2013.

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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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