Originally published: January 23, 2012
Last updated: January 23, 2012 - 9:07pm
Google's US lobbying bill more than tripled to $3.76 million in the fourth quarter as the Internet search leader fought proposed changes to online piracy laws and sought to influence a wide range of other issues that could affect its fortunes.
The amount that Google Inc. spent making its political points from October through December is by far the company's highest lobbying tab for any three-month period since Google's Washington office opened in 2005. The total compared with a lobbying budget of $1.24 million during the final three months of 2010 and $2.38 million in the third quarter of 2011. For all of 2011, Google spent $9.7 million on political persuasion, nearly doubling from $5.2 million in 2010. Google's lobbying expenses have been rising steadily against a backdrop of intensified U.S. government scrutiny of the company's acquisitions and business practices. The focus has been prompted by complaints alleging that Google is abusing its dominance of the lucrative Internet search market to stifle competition and muscle its way into other markets.
Facebook spent more than $1.3 million on lobbying efforts last year, passing the $1 million mark for the first time, according to disclosure documents. In 2010, by contrast, Facebook spent less than $400,000. And Facebook's fourth-quarter spending for last year was $440,000, up from $130,000 during the same period in 2010. Facebook upped its advocacy efforts as scrutiny of its privacy policies increased.