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. 

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle on Public Radio Pledge Drives

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. It’s sad that, no matter what your business is, if you get successful enough, you have to hire a Man in Washington.

    1. Yup. Look at microsoft. Spent almost $zero on lobbying and endured a shit storm. Spent a couple $mil and all of a sudden they got an umbrella.

      1. Funny how that works. It’s almost like politicians are gaming the system for personal gain.

        1. Yeah, that’s weird. Huh.

      2. Its like a protection racket or something…

      3. But Microsoft did stuff the government said they can’t do. They sold Windows with Internet Explorer!

  2. Don’t be evil!

    Google thought that if they said the right code words, they’d be safe. What they failed to understand is that though TEAM BLUE will believe anything if said the right way, this ends when you’re a big corporation. TEAM BLUE hates corporations more than just about anything else.

    If you’re a mass-murdering dictator, it’s all good, but if you’re business…sorry. Wonderful set of priorities they have, isn’t it.

    1. obviously epi’s code word searchs would NOT be marketable to 3d parties…even w epi’s permission.

    2. Google thought that if they said the right code words, they’d be safe.

      This is why Warren Buffett has been going on his billionaire apology tour.

    3. They were right about saying the right code words. They were just wrong about what those words were.

      Not “don’t be evil.” No, no. More like “Check enclosed.”

  3. It’s sad that, no matter what your business is, if you get successful enough, you have to hire a Man in Washington.

    Honey government don’t give a shit. Honey government just takes what it wants.

    1. +1,000

      I’ve watched that video so many times I actually read your comment in the guys voice.

  4. Lord Humungus, the ruler of the Wasteland, is currently in Charleston, SC. After a triumphant battle over the Blue Ridge Parkway, he is resting, biding his time, wondering if he should open a southern command.

    1. Is it the Blue Ridge Pkwy that has the big sand traps for trucks whose brakes have gone out? I remember driving through them as a kid and seeing one that had been used.

      1. You see those all over the mountains. I’ve seen trucks on them a few times, and saw one flying down the road without brakes once. Egad.

        1. ProL, just because you’ve seen Duel doesn’t mean it actually happened to you. Remember the talk we had about separating reality from entertainment? You haven’t stopped taking your medication again, have you?

          1. The scariest mountain drive I’ve been on was in Wyoming. We’re on some random mountain (I think this was relatively near Devil’s Tower) going up, up, up, and there are no rails, just airy death on one side of the car.

            I was just on the Blue Ridge Parkway last year, and I think Kwanzaa Cake is right–no trucks! My experience with runaway trucks was in around the Smokies and on a mountain west of Chattanooga that we used to drive over fairly regularly. Crazy stuff.

            1. Snoqualmie Pass is fun. Last year there had been so much snow that when I drove through it on Memorial Day, there were still massive piles of snow on the side of the road from where they had been piled up by the plows.

              1. With all of the big mountains out there, I bet there are some totally harrowing drives off the major highways, too.

                When I went hiking in the North Cascades (glorious!), I drove on a dirt road for quite a while (one lane–meaning the get off the road if a car is coming one lane). It didn’t involve much of an incline, but I bet there are some that do.

            2. SR-89A from Flagstaff, AZ to Prescott Valley, AZ.. The portion from a dried up mining town called Jerome to PV is epic. 158 curves in a 12 mile stretch going downhill on a pass that trucks >40 ft (IIRC) aren’t allowed.

              Highly recommended if you have a sports car or bike, and are ever in AZ with some time to kill. Just try to avoid peak tourist season, they’ll ruin it for you. There’s also a lot of great mountain passes in the CO rockies, but that’s the most fun road I’ve ever driven on.

            3. I24 from Chattanooga to St. Louis by way of Nashville. I don’t know why the truck traffic seems like a different type of traffic than what you see on I75. The 45 trucks you see within your field of vision on 285 aren’t as scary as two trucks on I24.

        2. I-40 from Knoxville to Asheville has ’em.

          That’s a harrowing drive – pretty much all trucks, all the time.

          1. Just drove it last weekend, I hate that stretch of 40. But at least when you get into TN there are plenty of liquor stores and sex shops.

      2. Pretty sure large trucks are not allowed on the Blue Ridge. It is a truly amazing drive, I highly recommend it. I’ve done some sections around Asheville, NC, just amazing.

        1. I wasn’t sure if the “no trucks on parkways, just expressways” was just a rule in the Northeast or if it was everywhere.

          1. Not sure, I just vaguely recall signs banning trucks on the Blue Ridge, and I have never seen a commercial truck on it. With all the steep climbing and steep descents, a large truck would barely be able to navigate some sections of the Blue Ridge.

            Of course, the Blue Ridge is generally the slowest route between A and B anyway, so they wouldn’t want it anyway.

            1. I was in a Grand Marquis – believe it or not, the car handled just fine but I know it quite well. I’m sure I would have been happier in the various sports cars I saw on the way. Downhill, I went with 2nd gear and that scrubbed enough speed to keep off the brakes most of the time.

              Worst part was the Toyota SUV in front of me… dude, pull over and let me pass. I sit much lower than you and I’m hardly breaking a sweat versus your constant brake riding.

      3. nah, nothing like that on the Parkway. A trucker would have to be insane to take a big rig on there. But I saw a few run offs in NC. Some of the highway hills were amazingly steep.

        In comparison, SC had some of the most boring stretches of highway. No police either – at least that I saw – which meant the truckers were piling on the steam. In Michigan, these guys would have been pulled over to much joy by the Michigan State Police.

    2. You going to go slumming down the road? (i.e. ride down to Savannah?) If you are, stop by Beaufort at La Nopalera. When my brother was stationed there, we would ride over for the weekend to stroll through both cities, but really to go to La Nope. You’ve never had real Mexican food until you realize that Mexico has two coasts and those sneaky bastards have been hiding the seafood from us all this time.

      1. Nah, I’ll be striking north again soon enough – going through W. Virginia on the way back.

        We went through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg on the way down – way to kitschy and touristy compared to my memories of ~30 years ago. So we thankfully pressed on.

        1. Spent last Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg at a family reunion. The cabins were fine – I didn’t go outside much, except to go out and get in the car to ride to Cherokee to give the Indians back their $24. But yeah, the whole Pigeon Forge area is like an outdoor Disneyworld, there’s no there there.

  5. FTC administrator: Google, I am critical of your industry dominance! I must protect the people!

    Google: Would you like to come work for us? We will pay you a large salary.

    FTC administrator: When can I start?

  6. Fuck the FTC.
    Fuck antitrust bullshit.

  7. I think it was Government’s End how Jon Rauch talked about how lobbying is almost a zero-sum game. You have to play in order to protect yourself, or else your competitors will get legislation passed that hoses you.

    1. And this is why we need an extremely restricted and limited federal government.

      1. Maybe we should write a document that gives the federal government specific and well defined powers, and explicitly leaves everything else to the People and to the States.

        Yeah, that’s it!

        1. But people might lose touch with what’s written in that document and begin to think we want government to be able to do whatever it wants!

          We better write a seemingly endless number of essays to spell out exactly what we mean. We could call it the Federalist Papers or something!

          1. It doesn’t matter what you do, it ain’t gonna work out the way you think it will. If you write a book of essays supporting it, I’ll just write a book of essays explaining why forming a federal government will inevitably lead to a civil war and a national government headed by an executive majesty with a standing army and unrestricted powers over commerce.

            I’ll call it The Anti-Federalist Papers.

    2. I think RC put it best a couple of months ago. Lobbyists are the vanguard for the army of lawyers.

      And people tend to forget about the regulatory side. Who has time to keep up with that? Put me on retainer and I do it for you.

      1. I don’t recall saying that, but I’ll happily take credit regardless.

  8. Dear Google;

    You think you’re smooth
    That you can pick and choose
    When the time is right…
    But, just look behind,
    You’ll be surprised to find
    I’m gonna make you mine tonight

    Love, Big Government

    Or did I get that backwards?

    1. Although there’s only been a few cases, county public health toxicology expert Cyrus Rangan says it could signal a dangerous trend.

      Or as Drew Curtis would say, “Everybody panic!”

      1. If you don’t want to ban the sale of hand sanitizer to anyone under 21, then you hate children. You don’t hate children, do you?

  9. “Don’t be evil” has some interesting anagrams. Here are a few:

    * Bend to evil
    * Live on, debt
    * Vend to bile

  10. I would just like to point out that my workplace also has a slide… and it’s better than Google’s.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.