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Business Management

How has Trump impacted tech lobbying in the US?

To Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Tobacco and Big Banking, you can now add Big Tech.                              

Paul Harris, Guardian

 

Given the unpredictable nature of the current US administration, is it wise for companies to spend large sums trying to lobby Capitol Hill?

The fact there was election seemed to cause a mild slowdown in lobbying spend. Last year the top ten tech highest spenders spent $75.2 million trying to curry favour in Washington DC; slightly lower than 2015’s $78.4 million, but still above the $64.47 million spent in 2014.

The US Lobbying database has been updated to include Q2 of 2017, so we can now see whether the presence of President Trump in the White House has seen companies ramp up or slow down their efforts to influence government and lawmakers.

The first six months of 2017 saw all of the top 10 technology spenders ramp up their lobbying efforts. All ten – which so far have spent $45.85 million in 2017 – have spent more compared to this time last year.

As ever, Google was the biggest spender. The search giant spent just shy of $10 million lobbying on a broad range of topics including advertising, privacy, IP, copyright, Privacy Shield, government surveillance, encryption, education, renewable energy, trade, immigration, tax, spectrum, AI cars, UAVs, and more. Its total spend in 2016 was $15.81 million.

Amazon, which has increased its lobbying efforts massively over the last two years, was the second highest spender, putting $6.11 million into subjects such as broadband, net neutrality, IP, music licensing, tax, data protection, security, immigration and more.

Facebook and Oracle are both on course for big years, having spent over $5 million each so far and heading for more than $10 million come the year’s end at current rates. If spending levels continue at their current rate, total spending for the top 10 tech companies could surge past 2016 and 2015 levels.

Lower down the list, Mixed Reality startup Magic Leap - despite still not having any official product to show - has spent $320,000 on lobbying so far, on top of last year’s $740,000 outlay. Drone maker DJI and Tesla have spent more than $300,000 each. Uber’s $800,000 – relatively low considering the constant legal troubles the company finds itself embroiled in – puts it on course to increase 2016’s total, while fellow ride-hailing service Lyft’s $250,000 worth of lobbying has already seen it match the company’s 2016 bill.

Huawei’s spend dropped massively, from over $349,000 last year to just $20,000 for 2017 so far. Twitter, despite being the President’s preferred communication platform of choice, has failed to ramp up its spend at $290,00 for the year to date.

 

Company

2017 [So far]

2016 Total Spend

       

1

Google

$9. 45 million

$15.81 million

2

Amazon

$6.11 million

$11.02 million

3

Facebook

$5.59 million

$8.69 million

4

Oracle

$5 million

$7.65 million

5

Microsoft

$4.37 million

$8.71 million

6

Qualcomm

$3.87 million

$5.56 million

7

Apple

$3.6 million

$4.67 million

8

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

$3.15 million

$4.83 million

9

IBM

$2.79 million

$4.04 million

10

Intel (Corp)

$1.92 million

$4.22 million

 

Also read:
How will Trump affect tech lobbying in the US?
Has the US Election dampened technology lobbying?
InfoShot: US tech firms lobbying spend in 2015
InfoShot: US tech firms lobbying spend in 2014

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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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