Apple spent less than $2M on D.C. lobbying last year, Google spent $18M


Among the many moves monitored by tech company watchers is who is spending what money, where. Whether it be on R&D, acquisitions, or patent litigation, knowing where a company spends its cash is important to understanding its business.

A new report, for example, takes a look at how much each of the big tech firms spent on D.C. lobbying in 2012 (trying to influence politicians and their legislation to work in their favor). And surprise, surprise, Google spent more than everyone else…

In fact, it spent a lot more. Looking at this chart, created by, you can see that Google spent more than twice as many as the other companies on lobbying last year. With it at $18.2 million, the closest was Microsoft at $8.09 million.

lobbying 2012 chart

Other notable placements are Facebook, who spent the 6th most, at nearly $4 million, Amazon in 9th at $2.5 million, and of course, Apple rounded out the group at $1.97 million. Apple was one of the few that decreased their lobbying costs from 2011.

Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt, looking at Apple’s latest LD2-disclosure form, says the company spent about $500,000 per quarter in D.C., and the money was spread out thinly over a wide range of issues. Here he breaks down some of its favorites:

  • Taxation (including the repatriation of profits earned overseas)
  • Education (including the use of digital textbooks in schools)
  • Telecommunications (including open Internet and children protection issues)
  • Environment (including electronic waste, Energy Star and EPEAT standards)
  • Trade (including free trade and border issues)
  • Consumer Issues (including privacy protection and the Do Not Track Me Online Act)
  • Investments and the SEC (including implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act)
  • Transportation (including the use of technology in cars and airplanes)
  • Computer Industry (including cybercrime)
  • Appropriations (including government precurement rules)
  • Media (including electronic publishing)
  • Medical (including the regulation of mobile medical devices)

As aforementioned, it’s no surprise that Google outspends everyone in D.C. lobbying. With the search giant constantly battling with the FTC, the FCC, the DOJ and almost any other agency you can think of, it needs as many friends in Washington as it can get.