This past quarter, Google spent $1.34 million on Washington lobbyists, an increase of 41% over last year’s spending during the same period. That brings the company’s lobbying money up to $2.72 million for the first half of 2010, according to Consumer Watchdog. With all that spending, who and what is Google trying to influence?
Recently, the company has faced mounds of criticism over privacy issues, and it seems to be focusing its lobbying efforts on that front. For example, Johanna Shelton, a senior policy counselor, serves as one of Google’s lobbyists in D.C. Shelton has worked in the past with Rep. Rich Boucher, who just this week unveiled his additions to a piece of online privacy legislation making its rounds in the House. Boucher’s bill specifically targeted privacy issues related to the advertising efforts by Google and Facebook, which also ramped up its lobbying spending in Washington.
Consumer Watchdog’s findings correspond with recent articles discussing Google’s growing influence in Washington. Politico, for example, recently published an article about how the search engine has grown its political power inside the White House.
Certainly, this enormous increase in spending has only aided that effort.