A new report out today by Recode examined how major technology companies spent a record amount of money lobbying the United States government in 2017, over issues like net neutrality, encryption, immigration, and more. In total, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google spent about $50 million lobbying the government last year, and of that Apple alone spent $7 million.
Apple's spending on lobbying grew from just over $4 million in 2014 to about $4.5 million in 2015 and 2016, before greatly increasing to $7 million in 2017. In terms of lobbying, this was a record spending amount for the company, and Apple's areas of focus were said to have been encryption and immigration. The last time Apple's lobbying amount emerged was in July 2017, when it was reported that Apple spent $2.2 million lobbying the government between April 1 and June 30, 2017.
Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google cumulatively racked up a roughly $50 million tab fighting off President Donald Trump and an onslaught of new federal regulations last year — a reflection that the tech industry is increasingly under political siege in the nation’s capital.
And Apple shelled out $7 million — again, more than ever — to lobby the U.S. government over the same period. The iPhone giant continued to press forward on issues like encryption and immigration. And the company — like the rest of the industry — advocated for the tax reform law recently signed by Trump.
For the other companies, Google spent the most at more than $18 million in lobbying last year, Amazon spent more than $12.8 million, and Facebook spent $11.5 million. Google spent to "stave off new regulations targeting the content and ads" on its search engine and YouTube, while Amazon advocated for "friendlier federal rules" on online sales tax, cloud computing, and package delivery drones. Much of Facebook's 2017 lobbying was focused on its fight against "fake news" in newsfeeds.
Apple has found itself speaking out against the Trump administration for many topics over the past year. In 2017, it began with President Trump's executive order on immigration, then included protections for transgender students, environmental topics like climate change and the Paris climate deal, an overhaul to H-1B work visas, and the protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The fight for DACA has continued into 2018, as well as Apple's support for a program that protects the spouses of those with H-1B visas.
Because of the ongoing lobbying, Recode reported that the technology industry's 2017 political activities "may only presage a tougher and costlier clash with Washington, D.C., in the year to come."
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