Google, Facebook Boast Record Lobbying Spend

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-07-22 Print this article Print

Google is facing an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. Every acquisition Google makes of size is investigated by the FTC or the Justice Department.

The company stumbled through 2010 with two major privacy gaffes with Street View and Google Buzz.

It is looking to expand its cloud-computing purview and push more aggressively into clean power, which has been hyped by a few presidential offices with little action.

Does anyone need to still ask why the company has spent $2.06 million on lobbying in the second quarter, up from $1.34 million spent in Q2 2010 and almost half the total it spent on lobbying for all of 2010?

Arguing to maintain its strong search ad business through acquisitions and fighting privacy critics is proving expensive, as Google hired one dozen more lobbying firms to defend itself versus the FTC inquisition.

Google, which also held forth on freedom of expression and censorship and renewable energy policies, met with officials from the FTC, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of representatives and the Executive Office of the President to discuss those topics.

Google knows lobbying is par for the course for a company that boasts the dominant search-engine position in most of the world's free countries, supported by nearly 30,000 employees, and almost $40 billion in the bank to grow its business.

Meanwhile, Facebook spent $320,000, more than five times the $60,000 it spent in Q2 2010, or nearly as much as its total lobbying expenses for all of last year.

What's Facebook's excuse? Facebook isn't on any political hot seat ad of late, but it is girding for an IPO early next year.

Always good to make nice with politicians and regulators before you become a public company that could one day rival Google, Microsoft and Apple in clout. |

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