U.S. GIANT COMPANIES (AMAZON, FACEBOOK, APPLE, GOOGLE) LOBBYING SPEND, TOP ISSUES LOBBIED AND BILLS & AGENCIES LOBBIED

U.S. GIANT COMPANIES (AMAZON, FACEBOOK, APPLE, GOOGLE) LOBBYING SPEND, TOP ISSUES LOBBIED AND BILLS & AGENCIES LOBBIED

The top five largest US technology companies, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have spent around $582 million lobbying congress from 2005-2018. The issue that most concerned Facebook and Google was privacy while Apple was most concerned about taxes. Amazon and Facebook are particularly ranked as top lobbying spenders, with a 2019 total spend of $16.79 million and $16.71 million, respectively.

AMAZON

Annual Lobbying Spend Through the Years

  • Bloomberg estimates the growth of Amazon’s lobbying spend at more than 460% from 2012 to 2019, which is the fastest among its competitors.
  • Amazon also lobbied the most government entities in the technology industry in 2018, in an effort to exert the most influence among its competitors on issues affecting the technology industry.
  • The company has dedicated around $80 million in lobbying in the past 10 years, up to 2019, growing its investment incrementally through the years, with an additional spend of $9.16 million in the first half of 2020.
  • The graph below illustrates Amazon’s lobbying spend in the US from 2009 to 2020 in a million dollars.

LobbyingSource

  • Additionally, Amazon has incrementally added its number of lobbyists along with its expenditure. The company grew the number from 12 in 2009 to the current 109 lobbyists with 72 (66.06%) revolvers, and 104 in 2019, where there were also 72 revolvers (69.23%), having held government positions before.
  • Illustrations and breakdowns of contributions made by Amazon to various groups, including top recipients, candidates and their party affiliations, and members of Congress can be found here.
  • The graph below provides a comprehensive illustration of the company’s annual lobbying spend per quarter of the year and the number of lobbyists from 2000 to the first half of 2020.

LobbyingSource

Top Issues Lobbied

  • Amazon, like the other big technology companies, faces antitrust scrutiny from federal lawmakers and regulators. Amazon has, especially, faced critical examination for the privacy implications of its face-scanning capabilities and home-surveillance cameras, which are offered to police and customers, respectively.
  • The company has, therefore, been lobbying the US Senate, House of Representatives and various other federal departments and institutions on issues relating to data protection, encryption, security, retention, and breach notification, facial recognition technology, privacy, including the NIST Voluntary Privacy Framework, cross border data flows, product safety, law enforcement access, and cloud computing, following the enactment various legislation touching the issues, including the Social Media Protection and Consumer Rights Act of 2019 (S. 189) and the Commercial Facial Recognition Act (S. 847).
  • Amazon has also, most recently, been lobbying on combating price gouging and false claims due to COVID-19 as people turned to online shopping to obtain supplies without having to venture outside, including the implementation of the CARES Act (Public Law 116-136).comm. Some sellers on the platform had, reportedly, dramatically raised the prices of goods following the virus outbreak in the US.
  • Another top issue lobbied by the company relates to computers and information technology, including “cybersecurity, cloud security, Federal IT modernization, cloud computing, and government procurement, including the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (H.R. 2500 / S. 1790) and the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (H.R. 3494 / S. 1589.”
  • Other issues lobbied by Amazon relate to defense, the federal budget and appropriations, science & technology, transportation, labor, antitrust and the workplace, aviation, airlines and airports, trade, intelligence, copyright, patent and trademark, and civil rights and liberties.
  • A comprehensive breakdown of all the issues lobbied by the company from 2000 to 2020, including links to the filed reports, can be found here. The graph below illustrates the issues, including their recurrence through the years.

LobbyingSource

Bills Lobbied

  • Amazon lobbies a wide range of bills touching different issues relating to the company. The 2020 bills with the most number of reports and specific issues from the company, for instance, were the CARES Act (8 specific issues), William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (4 specific issues), and the INFORM Consumers Act (4 specific issues).
  • Amazon’s interest in the CARES Act relates to general issues regarding authorizations and appropriations, while its interest in the Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 and the INFORM Consumers Act relates to the IT provisions, including general issues relating to biometrics, and privacy, respectively.
  • On the other hand, the 2019 bills with the most number of reports and specific issues from Amazon were the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2020 (10 specific issues), the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (8 specific issues), the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (8 specific issues), the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2020 (7 specific issues), and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2020 (6 specific issues).
  • A comprehensive breakdown of all the bills lobbied by the Amazon from 2000 to 2020 can be found here.

Agencies Lobbied

  • The following is a list of the agencies lobbied by Amazon for various issues in 2019.
    • Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    • Consumer Product Safety Commission
    • The departments of agriculture, commerce , defense, education, energy, health & human services, homeland security, justice, labor, state, transportation, veterans affairs, and treasury.
    • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Executive Office of the President
    • The Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Trade Commission .
    • Food & Drug Administration
    • General Services Administration
    • The National Aeronautics & Space Admin, National Economic Council, National Inst of Standards & Technology, National Security Council, and the National Telecommunication and Information Administration.
    • The Office of Management & Budget, Office of Science & Technology Policy, and the Office of US Trade Representative.
    • Patent & Trademark Office
    • Postal Regulatory Commission
    • Securities & Exchange Commission
    • Small Business Administration
    • The US Copyright Office, US Customs & Border Protection, and the US Postal Service
    • The Vice President’s Office and the White House
  • A comprehensive list of all the agencies lobbied by the Amazon from 2000 to 2020 can be found here.

Hired Firms

  • Amazon spent a total of $2.38 million on contract expenses with firms hired for lobbying services in 2019. Additionally, the company has spent $1.21 million on similar contracts in the first half of 2020.
  • The following is a list of firms hired in 2019, including their contract expenses:
    • McGuireWoods LLP: $360,000
    • Ballard Partners: $280,000
    • Monument Advocacy: $240,000
    • Capitol Tax Partners: $240,000
    • Subject Matter: $240,000
    • Akin, Gump et al: $240,000
    • Federal Street Strategies: $200,000
    • Van Scoyoc Assoc: $180,000
    • Rich Feuer Anderson: $160,000
    • Holly Strategies: $120,000
    • Bloom Strategic Counsel: $120,000
    • Baker & McKenzie
  • A comprehensive list of all hired firms by the Amazon for lobbying services from 2000 to 2020, including their accompanying contract expenses can be found here.

APPLE

Annual Lobbying Spend Through the Years

  • Athough Apple spent a record amount on lobbying in 2019 ($7.41 million), the company’s expenditure is the least among the five largest firms in the technology industry. The company’s lobbying budget also declined in 2018 compared to 2017, where it spent $6.6 million and $7.2 million, respectively.
  • According to an interview conducted by ABC in 2019, Timothy Donald Cook, the company’s CEO noted that he does not believe in lobbyists, saying, “I don’t believe in having people talk on my behalf. I don’t believe in lobbyists. I believe in direct conversation. I strongly believe in engagement.”
  • However, Business Insider notes that Cook’s apparently cordial relationship with the US president, Donald Trump, is likely impacting its political interests, therefore, saving it some lobbying expenditure.
  • The graph below illustrates Apple’s annual lobbying expenditure from 1998 to the first half of 2020, including the number of lobbyists and the quarterly breakdown.

LobbyingSource

  • Apple increased its number of lobbyists from 16 in 2009 to 46 in 2019, 40 (86.96%) of whom are revolvers.
  • Illustrations and breakdowns of contributions made by Apple to various groups, including top recipients, candidates and their party affiliations, and members of Congress can be found here.

Top Issues Lobbied

  • Apple faces antitrust scrutiny from federal lawmakers and regulators due to its App Store, additionally, conflicting with the Justice Department regarding access to its encrypted devices. In the fourth quarter 2019, the company lobbied the government on various issues including those related to patent litigation, music licensing, and mobile payments and patent litigation.
  • Taxes, trade, and computers and information technology remain the top issues lobbied by Apple in 2019 and 2020. A 2019 evaluation by Forbes notes that a full 76% of reports filed by Apple mentioned taxes. Apple’s interest in taxes includes matters dealing with the implementation of corporate tax reform, international tax, foreign regulatory actions, taxation of digital goods, state sales tax, mobile workforce, green energy tax provisions, including ITC, and tax credits for domestic semiconductor production.
  • Apple’s lobbied issues regarding trade include matters dealing with standards and technical barriers to trade, market access, including tariffs and non-tariff barriers, export control regulations and foreign investment, and trade agreement negotiations.
  • Other issues lobbied by Apple relate to copyright, patent & trademark, banking, telecommunications, health issues, immigration, labor, antitrust and the workplace, transportation, law enforcement & crime, consumer product safety, education, the environment and Superfund, civil rights & civil liberties, aviation, airlines and airports, and science and technology.
  • A comprehensive breakdown of all the issues lobbied by the company from 1998 to 2020, including links to the filed reports, can be found here.

Bills Lobbied

  • Apple lobbies a wide range of bills touching different issues relating to the company. The 2020 bills with the most number of reports and specific issues from the company, for instance, were the EARN IT Act of 2020 (4 specific issues) and the bill to “restore American leadership in semiconductor manufacturing by increasing Federal incentives in order to enable advanced research and development, secure the supply chain, and ensure long-term national security and economic competitiveness” (2 specific issues).
  • On the other hand, Apple lobbied three bills in 2019, each with one specific issue, including the Keep Big Tech Out Of Finance Act, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, and the Fair Trade with China Enforcement ActWater Development Appropriations Act, 2020.
  • A comprehensive breakdown of all the bills lobbied by the Apple from 1998 to 2020 can be found here.

Agencies Lobbied

  • The following is a list of the agencies lobbied by Apple for various issues in 2019.
    • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    • The departments of commerce, defense , energy , homeland security, justice, state, transportation, and treasury.
    • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Executive Office of the President
    • The Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission.
    • The National Aeronautics & Space Admin, the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin, the National Security Council, and the Natonal Telecommunication and Information Administration.
    • The Office of Director of Natl Intelligence, the Office of Management & Budget, and the Office of US Trade Representative.
    • Patent & Trademark Office
    • The Vice President’s Office and the White House.
  • A comprehensive list of all the agencies lobbied by the Apple from 1998 to 2020 can be found here.

Hired Firms

  • Apple spent a total of $1.42 million on contract expenses with firms hired for lobbying services in 2019. Additionally, the company has spent $960k on similar contracts in the first half of 2020.
  • The following is a list of the firms hired in 2019, including their contract expenses:
    • Capitol Tax Partners: $360,000
    • Fierce Government Relations: $360,000
    • Franklin Square Group: $260,000
    • Invariant LLC: $210,000
    • Glover Park Group: $160,000
    • Miller Strategies: $50,000
    • Hogan Lovells: $20,000
  • A comprehensive list of all hired firms by the for lobbying services from 1998 to 2020, including their accompanying contract expenses can be found here.

FACEBOOK

Annual Lobbying Spend Through the Years

  • Facebook grew its annual lobbying spend from $210k in 2009 to $16.71 million in 2020, with the first half of 2020 registering $10.09 million in lobbying expenses.
  • Additionally, S&P Global Inc projects the company’s 2020 lobbying expenditure to exceed $20 million, having recorded $4.8 million in the second quarter of 2020 alone, a 17.5% increase from the second quarter of 2019.
  • The graph below illustrates the company’s lobbying expenses in the US from 2009 to 2020.

LobbyingSource

  • Additionally, Facebook has incrementally added its number of lobbyists along with its expenditure. The company grew the number from two in 2009 to the current 68 lobbyists with 61 (89.71%) revolvers and 72 in 2019, where the number of revolvers were 67 (93.06%), having held government positions before.
  • Illustrations and breakdowns of contributions made by Amazon to various groups, including top recipients, candidates and their party affiliations, and members of Congress can be found here.
  • The graph below provides a comprehensive illustration of the company’s annual lobbying spend per quarter of the year and the number of lobbyists from 2009 to the first half of 2020.

LobbyingSource

Top Issues Lobbied

  • Facebook’s spike in lobbying expenditure comes at a time when the company is facing multiple cases of antitrust scrutiny from the federal government. For instance, S&P Global Inc points out that multiple 2019 media reports indicated the e US Federal Trade Commission’s intention to open an investigation into the company in relation to “whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers.”
  • According to CNBC, the company, which faces a state-led probe by 47 attorneys general, generally adopted a more engaged approach in 2019 compared to the previous years, with Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO, visiting lawmakers for private meetings relating to technology regulation and an open hearing on the company’s cryptocurrency plans. Additionally, Facebook lobbied the government on issues including content policy, encryption, and election integrity in the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • The company, therefore, lobbied the government on issues and discussions related to technology and the Internet, including “privacy, research, competition, and security; online advertising, content and platform transparency efforts; Honest Ads Act (S.1356, H.R. 2592); diversity and improving education in science, technology and engineering; protecting children and online safety; human trafficking relief; Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act; general discussions on data breach; discussions regarding net neutrality and connectivity, H.R.1644 – Save the Internet Act of 2019; issues related to opioid policy; The DETOUR Act (Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction), Childrens Online Privacy Protection Rule, bullying prevention efforts, data portability and interoperability; issues related to platform integrity and cybersecurity, storage and access to electronic communications and encryption; discussions on the reauthorization of expiring provisions of the USA Freedom Act; Computer Science for All Act of 2019 (H.R. 1485); Federal Campaign Cybersecurity Assistance Act of 2019; issues related to blockchain policy; SHIELD Act of 2019 (H.R. 2896).”
  • Other issues lobbied by Facebook relate to telecommunications, taxes, homeland security, intelligence, immigration, government issues, media information and publishing, science & technology, law enforcement & crime, copyright, patent & trademark, trade, advertising, banking, finance, labor, antitrust & the workplace, civil rights & civil liberties, consumer product safety, health issues, and radio & TV broadcasting.
  • A comprehensive breakdown of all the issues lobbied by the company from 2009 to 2020, including links to the filed reports, can be found here.

Bills Lobbied

  • Facebook lobbies a wide range of bills touching different issues relating to the company. The 2020 bills with the most number of reports and specific issues from the company, for instance, were the Honest Ads Act (4 specific issues), the EARN IT Act of 2020 (4 specific issues), and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act (3 specific issues).
  • On the other hand, the 2019 bills with the most number of reports and specific issues from the company were the Great American Outdoors Act (11 specific issues) and the Honest Ads Act (6 specific issues).
  • A comprehensive breakdown of all the bills lobbied by the Facebook from 2009 to 2020 can be found here.

Agencies Lobbied

  • Dept of Commerce
  • Dept of Homeland Security
  • Dept of Justice
  • Dept of Labor
  • Dept of State
  • Dept of the Treasury
  • Executive Office of the President
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Office of Director of Natl Intelligence
  • Office of Science & Technology Policy
  • Office of US Trade Representative
  • Patent & Trademark Office
  • US Copyright Office
  • White House
  • A comprehensive list of all the agencies lobbied by Facebook from 2009 to 2020 can be found here.

Hired Firms

  • Facebook spent a total of $3.225 million on contract expenses with firms hired for lobbying services in 2019. Additionally, the company has spent $2.12 million on similar contracts in the first half of 2020.
  • The following is a list of firms hired in 2019, including their contract expenses:
    • Steptoe & Johnson: $330,000
    • Peck Madigan Jones: $240,000
    • Subject Matter: $240,000
    • Capitol Tax Partners: $240,000
    • Harbinger Strategies: $240,000
    • Baker & Hostetler: $200,000
    • theGROUP DC: $200,000
    • Blue Mountain Strategies: $180,000
    • OB-C Group: $170,000
    • Stewart Strategies & Solutions: $170,000
    • Signal Group: $150,000
    • Ogilvy Government Relations: $120,000
    • Ice Miller Strategies: $100,000
    • Sternhell Group: $100,000
    • Salt Point Strategies: $90,000
    • David Wade/GreenLight Strategies: $90,000
    • FS Vector: $80,000
    • Off Hill Strategies: $70,000
    • Elevate Government Affairs: $50,000
    • Hollier & Assoc: $45,000
    • Mason Street Consulting: $40,000
    • Alpine Group: $30,000
    • Bryan, Cave et al: $30,000
    • Williams Group: $30,000
    • Telemedia Policy Corp: $20,000
  • A comprehensive list of all hired firms by Facebook for lobbying services from 2009 to 2020, including their accompanying contract expenses can be found here.

GOOGLE (Alphabet Inc)

Annual Lobbying Spend Through the Years

  • Alphabet Inc grew its annual lobbying spend from $16.66 million in 2015 to a 2018 record high of $21.77 milliom before a decline in 2019 amounting to $12.66 million.
  • The likely reason for the spike in 2018 spike was the fact that the company was a target of an antitrust investigation from state lawmakers during the period. The figure dropped significantly in 2019 following the company’s restructuring of its lobbying operations.
  • The graph below illustrates the company’s lobbying expenses in the US from 2015 to the first half of 2020 in a million dollars.

LobbyingSource

  • Additionally, the company incrementally added its number of lobbyists from 84 in 2015 to 118 in 2019 with 98 (83.05%) revolvers.
  • Illustrations and breakdowns of contributions made by Amazon to various groups, including top recipients, candidates and their party affiliations, and members of Congress can be found here.

Top Issues Lobbied

  • The top issues lobbied by the company in 2019 relate to labor, antitrust & the workplace (15 specific issues), consumer product safety (12 specific issues), telecommunications (8 specific issues), science & technology (8 specific issues), copyright, patent & trademark (11 specific issues), and computers & information technology (10 specific issues).
  • Other issues lobbied by the company include homeland security, trade, transportation, law enforcement & crime, immigration, government issues, health issues, the federal budget & appropriations, and taxes.
  • A comprehensive breakdown of all the issues lobbied by the company from 2003 to 2020, including links to the filed reports, can be found here.

Bills Lobbied

  • The company lobbies a wide range of bills touching different issues relating to the company. The 2020 bills with the most number of reports and specific issues from the company, for instance, were the CARES Act (7 specific issues) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (3 specific issues).
  • On the other hand, the 2019 bills with the most number of reports and specific issues from the company were Save the Internet Act of 2019, For the People Act of 2019, the Climate Action Now Act, and the Child Tax Credit Equity for Puerto Rico Act of 2019, each with four specific issues.
  • A comprehensive breakdown of all the bills lobbied by the Apple from 2003 to 2020 can be found here.

Agencies Lobbied

  • Dept of Agriculture
  • Dept of Air Force
  • Dept of Homeland Security
  • Dept of Navy
  • Dept of Transportation
  • Executive Office of the President
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admin
  • National Aeronautics & Space Admin
  • National Guard
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Admin
  • Office of Science & Technology Policy
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • Vice President’s Office
  • A comprehensive list of all the agencies lobbied by the company from 2003 to 2020 can be found here.

Hired Firms

  • Alphabet Inc spent a total of $4.07 million on contract expenses with firms hired for lobbying services in the first half of 2020.
  • The following are examples of firms hired during the period, including their contract expenses:
    • Cornerstone Government Affairs: $100,000
    • Crossroads Strategies: $100,000
    • Emmer Consulting: $30,000
    • Focus DC: $60,000
    • Fulcrum Public Affairs: $40,000
    • Gephardt Group: $60,000
  • A comprehensive list of all hired firms by the company for lobbying services from 2003 to 2020, including their accompanying contract expenses can be found here.

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