LOS ANGELES, April 23, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Google's lobbying expenditures in the first quarter of this year topped $5 million, as the Internet giant sought to influence federal policymakers on issues including online privacy, competition, online advertising and online sex-trafficking, Consumer Watchdog said today.
Google increased its 2018 first-quarter federal lobbying a whopping 42.6 percent, spending $5.02 million compared to $3.52 million spent in the comparable 2017 period. Among 18 major technology and communications companies tracked by Consumer Watchdog, Google spent the most on lobbying, according to mandatory disclosure reports filed Friday with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Comcast and AT&T trailed closely behind Google in their lobbying expenditures, with Comcast spending $4.24 million in the first quarter of 2018, a 14 percent increase from the $3.72 million spent in the first quarter of 2017, and AT&T spending $4.12 million.
Among the 18 companies Consumer Watchdog tracked, Cisco Systems and Apple had the biggest percentage increases in their lobbying expenditures in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of 2017. Cisco Systems increased its lobbying expenditures by almost 90 percent, from $390,000 to $740,000. Apple increased its spending by 52.3 percent, moving from spending $1.4 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $2.14 million in the first quarter of 2018.
Lobbying disclosure reports filed last week with the Clerk of the House showed that seven other companies tracked by the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group increased their lobbying spending.
View the lobbying disclosure forms here: http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldsearch.aspx
Amazon spending soared 16.6 percent to $3.38 million in 2018 from $2.9 million in 2017. It spent $2.65 million in the first quarter of 2016. Amazon has nearly tripled its first quarter lobbying outlays since 2014 when it spent $1.18 million.
"Ten of the 18 tech and communication companies we track spent more than $2 million on lobbying in the first quarter once again demonstrating how our democracy has been hijacked by big bucks serving corporate interests," said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy and Technology Project director.
Facebook spent $3.3 million in the first quarter of 2018, a 2.8 percent increase from $3.21 million in the first quarter of 2017. The social networking company spent $2.78 million in the first quarter of 2016.
Microsoft, which used to lead the tech lobbying industry expenditures, remained at the $2.3 million level in 2018, the same as it was in the first quarter of 2017. That compares with $2.02 million in the first quarter of 2016.
Here are the 2018 first-quarter lobbying amounts for other tech companies tracked by Consumer Watchdog:
-- IBM spent $1.45 million an increase of 28.32 percent from $1.13 million, in 2017.
-- Intel spent $1.02 million, an increase of 2.32 percent from $996,960 in 2017.
-- Oracle spent $1.23 million, a 44.34 percent decrease from $2.21 million in 2017.
-- Twitter spent $150,000, a decrease of 11.76 percent from $170,000 in 2017.
Here are 2018 first-quarter lobbying expenditures for four other telecommunications companies:
-- Sprint spent $790,000, a 33.9 percent increase from $589,822 in 2017.
-- T-Mobile spent $2.01 million, an increase of 7.59 percent from $1.87 million, in 2017.
-- Verizon spent $2.8 million, a decrease of 2.44 percent from $2.87 million in 2017.
-- Charter Communications, a cable company, spent $2.34 million, a 15.84 percent increase from $2.02 million in 2017.
In 2018, Consumer Watchdog also started tracking Yelp and Airbnb.
---Yelp spent $70,000 in the first quarter of 2018, which is a 46 percent decrease from the $130,000 it spent in the first quarter of 2017.
---Airbnb filed its first lobbying disclosure report this year, and reported spending $180,000 on lobbying in the first quarter of 2018.
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog