In recent years, tech titans such as Google and Amazon have spent huge amounts on DC lobbying efforts. Here’s a rundown of these new local power players.
|Company||Background||Leadership||Priorities||Registered lobbyists||2017 spending|
|Alphabet||Last year, Google’s parent company spent more on lobbying than any other business—the first time a tech company took the top spot.||Former Republican congresswoman turned power lobbyist Susan Molinari has overseen Google’s DC operation since 2012.||Like many other digital businesses, Alphabet is pushing Congress to reinstate the net-neutrality rules that the FCC repealed last year.||102||18.2million|
|Amazon||The company’s Washington lobbying expenditures remained modest in its early years before quintupling between 2012 and 2017.||FTC vet Brian Huseman took over the DC policy team in 2016. Former White House press secretary Jay Carney, who works from Seattle and DC, is Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs.||Amazon lobbied 39 government entities last year—more than any other tech company—on subjects ranging from sales-tax policy to drone-delivery regulations.||94||$13 million|
|In 2009, Facebook spent just over $200,000 on two in-house lobbyists. By 2015, it was spending nearly $10 million a year.||Joel Kaplan, George W. Bush’s former deputy chief of staff for policy, has been a key leader of Facebook’s public-policy operation since 2011.||After Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony, Facebook is focusing on privacy and political-ad transparency, hoping to avoid overly burdensome regulation.||41||$11.5 million|
|Uber||Much of the ride-sharing service’s efforts are focused at the state and local levels, but it did open a DC office in Dupont in 2012.||Jill Hazelbaker — communications director for John McCain’s 2008 run—joined its public-policy and communications shop in 2015.||Legislation to create a national framework for regulating self-driving vehicles, plus a more out-there initiative: Jetsons-like flying electric cars.||37||$1.8 million|
The number of registered lobbyists includes both in-house and external lobbyists for 2017 as reported by the Center for Responsive Politics.
This article appeared in the June 2018 issue of Washingtonian.