In 2021, Amazon and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, spent a record amount of money lobbying the federal government, while Apple actually reduced its lobbying budget. Amazon and its subsidiaries spent $20.3 million lobbying Congress, according to The Hill, while Meta spent $20.1 million. As they fought legislation aimed at limiting their market power, both tech behemoths raised their lobbying spending by around 7%.
However, Apple’s spending declined during the course of the year. In 2021, the Cupertino tech behemoth spent $6.5 million on lobbying politicians, down from $6.7 million the previous year.
In 2021, Google, on the other hand, spent $9.8 million to sway lawmakers. This isn’t an annual high for Google, but it is a year-over-year gain of 27 percent.
In terms of lobbying spending, Amazon and Meta scored first and second, respectively.
Despite its lower lobbying budget, Apple has publicly expressed its opposition to various antitrust proposals now being debated in Congress. Apple claimed in a letter to senators earlier this month that the bills, which might require it to amend App Store guidelines, would jeopardize consumer security and privacy.
In 2021, the iPhone launched a series of “aggressive” lobbying activities at the state level in response to laws that threatened the App Store. Antitrust legislation was repealed in Georgia, Arizona, and North Dakota as a result of these lobbying campaigns.
Bipartisan bills in the House and Senate that address Silicon Valley’s problematic business practices were aggressively lobbied by the major businesses. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which would prevent dominant firms like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Meta from providing preference to their own items or discriminating against rivals on their platforms, is now the focus of the industry. Senators have shown support for making industry-friendly amendments to the final version of the bill, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
According to the money-in-politics research group OpenSecrets, Amazon and Meta are the top two individual lobbying spenders. They hired hundreds of K Street firms to send lobbyists with ties to congressional leaders and Biden administration officials.
According to a recent story from Punchbowl News, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai personally visited with senators and pushed them to oppose the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.
The digital behemoths and their trade associations blitzed Capitol Hill with warnings that the law would harm American consumers and damage American businesses’ ability to compete with their Chinese competitors. This week, a number of senators reaffirmed their worries.