Business Management

Big Tech diverting funds away from lobbying?


The latest figures for spending on government lobbying are out. Q2 of 2016 saw the technology industry’s spending on lobbying Capitol Hill actually fall.

Google was once again the biggest technology lobbyist of the quarter, spending a cool $4.62 million on issues such as privacy, online advertising, IP, TPP, Safe Harbor, energy, cyber-security, and a host of others. The search giant’s spending was up on Q1 and flat compared to this time last year.

Amazon was the second largest spender this quarter, having steadily ramped up its lobbying efforts over the last couple of years. Its $3 million were spent pushing issues from royalties, copyright, and patents, to taxes, data privacy, and drones.

Quarter-on-quarter comparisons shows increases in spend for IBM Microsoft, Oracle, HP Inc., Accenture, Dell, eBay, and Palo Alto. But Facebook, Intel, HPE, EMC, Samsung and many others saw decreases in spend. Dropbox and Infineon technology were new registrants, with the former spending over a quarter of a million dollars.

What’s interesting to note, however, is that comparisons between the first half of 2016 with the first six months of 2015 show a significant decline. Between them, the top 10 technology lobbyists have spent $38.64 million so far this year, down more than 6% compared to the same period last year. Of the top 10, only Amazon and Oracle have increased overall lobbying spend.

Perhaps, given the upcoming elections, companies are holding off on all but the most urgent issues until they know who’s going to be in the White House come January. According to OpenSecrets, neither candidate has received any significant-sized sums from technology companies, so there’s nothing to suggest lobbying efforts are currently being diverted into helping either candidate as yet.



Q1&2 2016 spend

Q1&2 2015 spend

% Change YoY


$8.42 million

$10.09 million



$5.65 million

$4.06 million



$4.97 million

$5.13 million



$4.09 million

$4.13 million



$3.64 million

$3.02 million



$3.02 million

$4. 56 million



$2.35 million

$2.81 million


Intel (Corp)

$2.3 million

$2.46 million



$2.25 million

$2.47 million


Hewlett Packard Enterprise

$1.95 million

$2.47 million [Pre-split]



$38.64 million

$41.37 million



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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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