The tech industry is boosting its spending in Washington D.C., looking to grease the wheels of democracy and promote agendas that will benefit their corporations. A new report from Consumer Watchdog shows the top spending tech firms in terms of lobbying efforts, with AT&T leading in the telecommunications arena and Google coming in as the top Internet company lobbyist.
Google spent $14.06 million on lobbying efforts last year, a 14.7 percent decrease over 2012 when it was targeted in an antitrust suit. Microsoft, meanwhile, boosted its spending on lobbyists in 2013, spending $10.5 million. That was up 29.7 percent.
Amazon.com — which has been advocating for a consistent national sales tax program — also made the top 10 by spending $3.46 million. That was up 38.3 percent on the year.
Apple, the biggest tech company on the planet, boosted its spending 71.7 percent to $3.37 million in 2013.
Historically, tech companies have taken a hands-off approach to D.C. politics. But as the industry grows in size and influence, the importance of business-friendly regulations have become more important to tech movers and shakers.
“Policymaking in Washington is all about how much money you can throw around,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director. “These tech guys are increasingly willing to spend whatever it takes to buy what they want.”
In the telecom arena, AT&T spent $15.9 million; Verizon spent $13.44 million; and Sprint spent $2.75 million.