Google, facing an antitrust probe by federal authorities, boosted its lobbying expenditures in the second quarter by nearly $600,000.
Google’s total lobbying tab for the second quarter ended June 30 was $2.06 million, up from $1.48 million listed in the first three months of the year. Google revealed last month that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating complaints that it has used its dominance in Internet search and online advertising to favor its own products.
Not surprisingly, Google listed in its lobbying-disclosure form “openness and competition in online services” as one of the issues it was focused on in lobbying Congress, the FTC, and the Justice Department.
AT&T, which also is facing a major regulatory battle, pulled back on its lobbying spending in the second quarter.
Even as it works to win approval of its bid to buy T-Mobile USA, AT&T’s lobbying receipts fell in the second quarter to $4.85 million. This is nearly $2 million less than the $6.84 million the company spent in the first three months of the year. The nation’s second biggest wireless provider announced its intention to buy No. 4 T-Mobile USA on March 20, near the end of the first quarter.
AT&T’s total wasn’t that much higher than Verizon’s $4.38 million tab for the second quarter. Verizon Wireless is the nation’s top mobile carrier but has largely stayed on the sidelines of the battle over the AT&T-T-Mobile deal.
T-Mobile USA’s lobbying expenditures jumped from $690,000 during the first three months of 2011 to $1 million in the second quarter as it focused on its proposed merger with AT&T and wireless-policy issues in Congress.
Meanwhile, Sprint, which is fighting to block the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, more than doubled its lobbying expenditures from $583,000 to $1.36 million in the second quarter. Sprint spokesman John Taylor said that the bulk of its lobbying tab was focused on convincing members of Congress that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger should be blocked.
“No company will be able to match AT&T dollar for dollar,” Taylor said. “We just need to spend the amount of money [it takes] to make sure members of Congress understand these issues.”
Facebook increased its lobbying spending by $90,000 in the second quarter to $320,000. The social-networking giant lobbied Congress, the FTC, the Commerce Department, the White House, and others on such issues as privacy, international regulations, Internet freedom, and cybersecurity.
Netflix, another emerging player, boosted its lobbying expenditures by $30,000 in the second quarter to $110,000. It focused on network neutrality, privacy, intellectual property, and Internet-competition issues. Open Secrets finds this significant and notes Netflix didn't really start lobbying until last year.
Microsoft, a veteran Washington tech player, increased its lobbying tab to $1.85 million in the second quarter, up from the $1.72 million it posted in the first quarter. Microsoft, which has been critical of rival Google, listed a wide range of issues, including cloud computing, cybersecurity, health information technology, patent reform, privacy, and, most notably, “competition in the online advertising and software markets.”
This article appears in the July 21, 2011, edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.