Google might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about government lobbying, but the search giant spent more than any other company on the effort last year.
Breaking its own record, Google (GOOGL) spent over $18 million on lobbying efforts in Washington in 2017, advocating its position on a range of issues, including immigration, tax reform, and online advertising. It outspent both its tech rivals and companies from other industries like media and telecoms. And according to the Center for Responsive Politics, it is the first time that a tech company has spent the most on lobbying efforts.
It was a record spending year for a number of other tech companies as well. Facebook spent $11.6 million on lobbying efforts, Amazon $12.8 million, and Apple $7.1 million. Each of these company’s expenditures grew by well over $1 million from the year prior. All told, the combined expenses of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google reached close to $50 million.
Most of the tech giants funneled some of this money toward saving net neutrality, reviving DACA, and weathering the backlash from Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Google also focused efforts on blocking new ad regulations and promoting self-driving cars. Meanwhile, Amazon sought to get legislation passed that would benefit a range of its efforts, including online sales taxes, cloud computing, and package-delivering drones. Facebook fought criticisms of “fake news” and Apple pushed on issues like encryption.
With technology’s rapid growth and the increasingly pivotal role it plays in our lives, it is likely that these tech giants will only expand their lobbying efforts for years to come.