Google spent $5.93 mil­lion on lob­by­ing

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Hamza Sha­ban

Google spent the most it ever has in a sin­gle quar­ter try­ing to in­flu­ence elected of­fi­cials in Wash­ing­ton, ac­cord­ing to lob­by­ing dis­clo­sures made pub­lic late Thurs­day. The past three months also have seen record spend­ing on lob­by­ing by sev­eral other ma­jor tech com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Ama­zon, Ap­ple and Uber.

Google Inc., ac­cord­ing to the dis­clo­sure forms, spent $5.93 mil­lion be­tween April 1 and June 30, more than any other cor­po­ra­tion in the sec­ond quar­ter. That’s about 40 per­cent more than it had spent dur­ing the same pe­riod last year. The only three en­ti­ties that doled out more money were large busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tions: the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce ($11.68 mil­lion), the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Re­al­tors ($10.92 mil­lion), and Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Re­search and Man­u­fac­tur­ers of Amer­ica ($6 mil­lion).

Since the 2016 elec­tion, the tech in­dus­try has had to nav­i­gate not only a Repub­li­can­con­trolled Congress, but an ad­min­is­tra­tion whose de­ci­sions have of­ten cut against Sil­i­con Val­ley’s busi­ness in­ter­ests and largely pro­gres­sive out­look.

“Some tech com­pa­nies have only ex­isted in a world when a pres­i­dent has largely aligned with them,” said Julie Sa­muels, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Tech: NYC, a group that rep­re­sents New York-based tech firms. “So a lot of peo­ple are grap­pling with how to live in a space where there is ten­sion there.”

Google’s record-break­ing lob­by­ing ef­forts come as it faces A $2.7 bil­lion fine the Euro­pean Union has ever levied against a com­pany for abus­ing its dom­i­nant mar­ket po­si­tion.

In re­cent months, some in Wash­ing­ton have called for in­creased scru­tiny of tech’s dom­i­nant plat­forms. Google lob­bied both cham­bers of Congress and the White House. Among the is­sues lob­bied for were: “leg­isla­tive re­sponses” to the pres­i­dent’s travel ban, high-skilled immigration, ed­u­ca­tion, U.S. and in­ter­na­tional an­titrust law, Fed­eral Communications Com­mis­sion’s pri­vacy reg­u­la­tions, and free­dom of ex­pres­sion.

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