WASHINGTON, DC — Google spent $1.34 million trying to influence federal lawmakers and regulators in the second quarter of 2010, a 41 percent increase over $950,000 in the same period a year ago, Consumer Watchdog said today.
Besides its willingness to spend, a key to Google’s lobbying effort is its well-connected Washington staff, most of whom have worked for Congress or the executive branch, said the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group.
For example Johanna Shelton once worked for Rep. Rick Boucher, D-VA, who is the chairman of the House Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee. Boucher is now working on an online privacy bill.
The Internet giant has spent a total of $2.72 million lobbying during the first half of the year, according to reports filed with the Senate Office of Public Records. Google’s second quarter figures were filed Tuesday night.
“Like most corporations, Google has a definite Washington agenda and its willing to spend millions to further it,” said John M. Simpson, consumer advocate with group. “Google has become one of the key political players by freely spending and taking advantage of Washington’s revolving-door culture to hire its corporate messengers.”
Read the 2nd quarter lobbying report here: http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/LobbyingReport_2010_2.pdf
In addition to its own in-house lobby shop, Google also hired outside lobbying firms. It spent $150,000 on the well-connected Podesta Group Inc. in the second quarter. Other lobbying firms it hired in the second quarter were Dutko Worldwide ($120,000), Franklin Square Group ($90,000), Liberty Partners group ($60,000) and McBee Strategic Consulting ($50,000).
Among the issues Google tried to influence were online advertising regulation including privacy and competition issues, patent reform, online consumer protection, cloud computing, renewable energy, smart grid, Congressional Internet service usage rules and broadband access.
Here is a list of Google’s registered lobbyists and their backgrounds:
Alan Davidson is Google’s director of Public Policy and Government Affairs. He joined Google in 2005 from the Center for Democracy and Technology. He has also worked on technology and policy issues at the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment and for the White House Office of Policy Development.
Pablo Chavez is Google’s director of Public Policy. He joined Google in 2006, having worked for Sen. John McCain as chief counsel and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation as Senior Counsel.
Johanna Shelton is Google’s senior policy counsel. She joined Google in 2007 from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where she was counsel from 2005-2007. Previously she worked for Rep. Rich Boucher 2001-2003 as counsel and at the FCC 1998-2001 as a staff attorney.
Seth Webb joined Google’s Washington office in 2009 as senior policy manager. He had worked at the House of Representatives in several positions, including House Financial Services Committee 2009 as Republican deputy staff director, House Republican Conference 2007-2008, chief of staff, House legislative floor activities 2002-2006, senior floor assistant and House rules committee 2000-2002, professional staff.
Rick Whitt is Google’s Washington Telecom and Media Counsel. He joined Google in 2007 from MCI where he was VP Federal Law and Policy.
Harry Wingo joined Google in 2009 as policy counsel. He came from CURRENT Group where he was executive VP from 2007-2009. Previously he worked for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation 2005-2007 as counsel and for the FCC 2003-2005, as Legal advisor (wireless telecommunication) and Special counsel.
Will DeVries joined Google in 2010 as policy counsel. Previously he worked was an attorney with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr.
Robert Tai joined Google in 2007 as policy analyst. Previously he worked for the Business Software Alliance 2004-2007 as manager of Cyber Crime Prevention and for the planning and research division of the California Governor’s office.
Dorothy Chou joined Google as policy analyst in 2008. She is a 2007 graduate of Georgetown University.
Jennifer Taylor is a new lobbyist on Google’s second quarter 2010 report. She joined Google in 2010 as policy analyst. She previous worked for the British Embassy 2004-2010 as senior policy advisor and for Rep. Ron Lewis 2000-2002 as a legislative assistant.
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Consumer Watchdog, formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, Ca. Consumer Watchdog’s website is http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org. Visit our new Google Privacy and Accountability Project website: http://insidegoogle.com.