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Big Tech to spend record amount on lobbying amid heightened scrutiny

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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