Google Goes to Washington


Google isn't feeling lucky—at least not in Washington. The Internet search giant is making an aggressive lobbying push this year and is on track to become one of Washington's biggest spenders. Via Ars Technica:

From January to March of this year, Google spent over $5 million on lobbying, nearly matching its entire 2010 lobbying budget of $5.2 million. If the company maintains this pace, it will likely earn itself a spot as one of the top ten spending entities for the year as logged by Open Secrets. Comparing this same rate with 2011 figures, Google would outspend the entire tobacco industry ($17.07 million), the combined spending of JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup ($18.67 million), but would be just barely behind the combined budgets of pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Merck ($20.685 million). For comparison, Apple spent only $500,000 for the same 2012 quarter; Microsoft spent $1.79 million.

As the Ars report notes, much of this money (about $4 million) was devoted to defeating SOPA and PIPA, two bills that would have given the federal government unprecedented control over the Internet, including the power to blacklist Web domains. But I suspect the Google will end up spending even more in the future as the company becomes an ever larger regulatory target. The company is already on the dart board at the Federal Trade Commission, which last year hired Columbia professor Tim Wu, who has been critical of Google's tech-industry dominance, as a special adviser tasked with looking at big players in the Internet sector.