How much do tech companies spend on lobbying Washington? No wonder politicians never bother listening to us...
Supposedly, we live in a democracy in the U.S. but these days I think that is a long way from the truth. While we may elect our officials, they most certainly are not spending their time listening to us (OK, they don’t listen to me at all because I only hold a green card and thus can’t vote). They are listening to the corporations that want us to buy their products and those companies want to influence government regulation to favor them in some way. That unfortunately is the way this country works. Lobbying is big business and the tech industry is far from immune to it. Want to see how desperately tech companies want to control the government? Well, Bloomberg just reported some numbers which to me are quite outstanding.
Heading the list is Google who spent over $18M last year. Why? Well think about all of the law suits and anti-competitive actions they are facing both here and in Europe and that figure is only the figure to influence out politicians. If the amount spent is any indication of the wrong they are doing, then Google knows it is doing a lot wrong and wishes to sweep it under the carpet. And we all thought that Microsoft was the evil empire. They spend less than half that amount, coming in at $8.1M. Other tech companies in the running are Apple, spending $2M and showing a 600% increase this year is their arch nemesis Samsung. We can see why Samsung may believe it has to curry some favor over here and the high profile wrangling does not include the trouble they are in for the anti-dumping measures they are facing. Trailing the cell phone list is Nokia who spent a paltry $320K.
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I really can't do more than just speculate on how much lobbying money Google spends on what. I do, however, know that some of the money is spent on fighting against laws that would take away online freedom and privacy or could cripple the Internet as we know it.
They also undoubtedly spend some money making sure that driverless cars have a future. There are a lot of folks in the government that would like to eat away at our digital rights. I certainly appreciate an organization with loads of money fighting that fight.
And, what in the world could the US Chamber of Commerce need to lobby for, to the tune of $136 million? That, I don't get.
wow ... almost a 50% increase in policy purchasing power over 4 years for the US Chamber of Commerce. And the National Association of Realtors has a more than 100% increase.
When you see large changes in numbers like these, it sparks curiosity into why it's happening. What's the underlying motive? Who's benefiting directly from the influx of cash? What major policies are being voted upon that are being allegedly 'purchased' by the lobbyists?
Brian provided a good indication of why Google & Samsung need to buy favor ... it's just the others that make me go Hmmmmmmmm.
This is a really shallow attempt! You can't even come close to a trend with TWO data points, especially two presidential election years with extremely polarized positions on both sides. It's not like it's hard to get much more data that MIGHT actually show something significant. Some missing information: was this based on expenditures directly by the companies, or company PACs, or combined? To nameless and Duane: US Chamber of Commerce basically represents large-size corporations (S&P500 mostly). I'd bet that some fair-sized chunks of their slush fund came from... Google et al. and is "invisible" to your "analysis."
" If the amount spent is any indication of the wrong they are doing, then Google knows it is doing a lot wrong ..."
lol - the amount spend indicates no such thing. It indicates that governments are sticking their fat fingers in lots of places they don't understand. After ten years of litigation, Microsoft just paid off a european community lawsuit for ... wait for it ... monopolizing the browser market!!!
Similar thing happed to IBM a generation ago and soon it will happen to Google. Any one targeted by well meaning politicians has to defend himself. Companies can't vote - people do. Why not spend your time ranting against ignorant voters whose only desire is to have the government plunder other peoples' property for their own benefit.
I think the graphic is a cheap shot. The sub-title is fair, "Lobbying Expenditure of Each Tech Company..." Yet, the primary title is very misleading: "Google Spends Millions to Fend Off Antitrust Case". I have been involved in some tech lobbying, and it is most often to explain to regulators that the language will not accomplish the intended goal or will have un-intended consequences. Many bills are floated like hot air balloons and the regulators are asking for suggestions. Anybody who is not diligent in review may be surprised at the outcome.
And I agree with Mark. Expenditures will rise in conjunction with the volume and importance of regulations impacting a particular business / industry. This is to be expected.