The fact that many major tech companies are headquartered in Silicon Valley doesn’t mean they don’t have a voice in Washington as well. According to documents filed in accordance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act, companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon spend millions every year trying to legally influence D.C. lawmakers.
According to the latest filings, disclosed on Tuesday, Google spent a record amount of $21.2 million on lobbying last year, outspending all of its big tech peers. As the following chart shows, all except one of the so-called GAFAM companies (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft) boosted their lobbying warchest last year, as revelations about data leaks and Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election led to increased scrutiny from D.C. lawmakers and sparked calls for tighter regulation of the powerful tech sector.
Interestingly, the quarterly lobbying disclosure filings not only reveal how much the companies spent on their lobbying efforts, they also provide us with information on which issues these efforts are related to. Take Google for example: in the past quarter, the search giant spent $4.9 million on lobbying with respect to issues ranging from regulation of online advertising and immigration of highly skilled individuals to copyright law, tax issues and trade policy. For additional information please refer to the official database.