Google’s laying out more money on lobbying the US government than Apple, Facebook and Microsoft combined.
According to disclosures filed with the Clerk of the US House of Representatives and obtained by Consumer Watchdog, it forked out over $5 million in the first quarter this year, nearly two and a half times as much as in the same period last year.
It even hired former Congresswoman Susan Molinari – a Republican – to run its Washington office.
“Google claims its motto is ‘Don’t Be Evil,’ but the amount of cash they are throwing around demonstrates an astounding cynicism,” says John M Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project director.
Microsoft was a little more cautious with its money, spending $1.79 million on lobbying during the quarter. Apple spent half a million dollars, and Facebook $650,000. AT&T, though, spent even more than Google, clocking up $7.34 million on lobbying.
Google’s lobbying spending has rocketed in the last two years. It spent nearly as much in the first quarter of 2012 as it did in all of 2010, when it spent $5.2 million.
The company needs to keep legislators sweet now more than ever before. It’s increasingly been the target of official investigations into everything from privacy issues to anti-trust concerns.
There’s also quite a list of internet legislation on the table that could potentially affect the company, from CISPA to Do Not Track.
“Hiring Molinari shows that Google executives intend to play political hardball,” says Simpson. “Doubling down with the kind of money they’ve now put on the table shows they really mean business.”