Google spent $5.47 million on lobbying in the first quarter -- more than all tech and telecom companies -- new records reveal.
That’s up 45 percent over the previous quarter and nearly a million more than Comcast, the no. 2 spender on Capitol Hill, which has a $45 billion deal to sell to regulators.
With the exception of the well-heeled National Association of Broadcasters, tech and wireless organizations and firms dominate the top 10.
Marshaling its unmatched army of lobbyists, Google makes sure it has a say in just about every Internet, tech, spectrum and broadband issue imaginable.
Google lobbies hard to protect online advertising, which contributes about 95 percent of its revenue, as well as a host of privacy and data collection issues that could impede its ability to track users and collect data. Also listed on its forms were issues related to copyright, intellectual property, mobile location data, data security and cybersecurity. The search giant also weighed in with lawmakers on trade policy, patent reform, even wind power.
While Google spent the most, Amazon grew its budget more than any other company, doubling what it spent in the year-ago quarter to $1.91 million.
Drones -- a technology that Amazon would like to use to deliver goods to consumers -- was among the topics it addressed with lawmakers, as well as intellectual property, licensing and royalties, taxation of digital goods, data security and mobile payments.
Two other big spenders in the quarter -- Comcast at $4.62 million and AT&T at $4.37 million -- both have big mergers on the line. Comcast hopes to acquire Time Warner Cable, while AT&T seeks to merge with DirecTV. Comcast spent slightly less than it did in the previous quarter, but AT&T increased its spending over the previous quarter by about 43 percent.
Firms aren’t the only big spenders lobbying in Washington. The industry associations rack up big lobbying bills. The granddaddy of them all is the NAB spending $4.7 million in first quarter.
The telecom and wireless associations, all involved in lawsuits challenging the FCC’s net neutrality order, are among the biggest spenders. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association dropped $3.8 million, while the CTIA-The Wireless Association spent $3.1 million. USTelecom increased its spending to $1.2 million.
Rounding out the top 10 are Verizon at $3.4 million, Facebook at $2.4 million and Microsoft at $1.9 million.