Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Lobbying expenses by Facebook, Amazon and Apple are set to hit record highs in 2019, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Tech companies are shelling out more money for lobbying as they face federal and state investigations and increased regulatory scrutiny.

By the numbers:

  • Amazon doled out $12.4 million so far in 2019, making it the top spender among Big Tech companies.
  • Facebook's spending jumped to $12.3 million so far in 2019 — an almost 25% jump from the same period in 2018.
  • Apple spent $5.5 million over the first nine months of the year — an 8% boost from last year.
  • Of note: Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., posted a 41% decline in lobbying expenses after it overhauled its government affairs operation. Google still spent $9.8 million on lobbying so far this year.

How it works: The companies have mainly used the money to present a positive message to Washington.

  • Google, for example, has posted signs touting its privacy protections on turnstiles and walls in Ronald Reagan National Airport.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is becoming a regular presence in the capital. He made three visits to Washington over the past five weeks, including a speech at Georgetown University and a visit to the White House.

The big picture: The three companies are the subjects of broad investigations, notes Axios' Sara Fischer.

  • Institutions investigating Facebook: House Judiciary Committee, House Financial Services Committee, the Federal Trade Commission, the Justice Department and state attorneys general.
  • Institutions investigating Amazon: FTC and House Judiciary Committee.
  • Institutions investigating Apple: House Judiciary Committee.

Go deeper: Explore Amazon's wide Washington reach

Go deeper

Fauci says White House effort to discredit him is "bizarre"

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci told The Atlantic on Wednesday that efforts by certain White House officials to discredit him are "bizarre" and that it "ultimately hurts the president" to undermine a top health official in the middle of a pandemic.

Driving the news: Fauci's comments come on the heels of a USA Today op-ed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who claimed that Fauci has been "wrong about everything" related to the coronavirus that the two have interacted on. Fauci told The Atlantic: “I can’t explain Peter Navarro. He’s in a world by himself.”

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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive for coronavirus

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on Wednesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate, Tulsa World reports.

Why it matters: The 47-year-old Stitt is believed to be the first governor in the U.S. to test positive. He attended President Trump's rally in Tulsa last month, which the county's health department director said likely contributed to a surge in cases in the region.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 13,397,167 — Total deaths: 580,388 — Total recoveries — 7,449,477Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 3,459,053 — Total deaths: 136,900 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. States: Alabama's GOP governor issues statewide mask mandate — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive.
  4. Politics: Fauci says White House effort to discredit him is "bizarre" — Trump says Navarro shouldn't have written op-ed attacking Fauci.