15 Tech Companies That Spent The Most On Lobbying This Quarter

Paying The Way

Getting your way in Washington sometimes takes a lot of money. These tech companies know all about that and have shelled out hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars this quarter alone, according to a compilation of government lobbying reports by Consumer Watchdog. Take a look at what 15 tech companies spent the most on lobbying.

15. Sprint

Lobbying Spend: $706,343

While Sprint was the lowest on the list of top tech lobbyers, its spend of $706,343 on lobbying this quarter was nothing to scoff at. Still, the total represented a 2 percent year-over-year decrease for Sprint. However, when combined with parent company SoftBank, the two carry much more weight in Washington.

14. Cisco

Lobbying Spend: $730,000

Despite its size, Cisco landed near the bottom of top lobbying tech firms. With $730,000 in lobbying during the third quarter, Cisco spent 18 percent less than it did in the same quarter last year. Big issues for Cisco lobbying this year included immigration, patents and cyber security.

13. Yahoo!

Lobbying Spend: $730,000

With a focus mostly on Internet issues, Yahoo upped its lobbying efforts this quarter by 16 percent over the year-ago period. This quarter, Yahoo spent $730,000 on lobbying, up from $630,000 the year before. More specific issues for the Internet search engine company included transparency, online privacy and online tracking protection.

12. Intel

Lobbying Spend: $810,000

Intel dropped its lobbying spend this quarter by 23 percent from a year earlier to $810,000. Over the past year, the chipmaker has lobbied on issues such as patents, cyber intelligence and immigration. Intel also lobbied on multiple technology education initiatives.

11. IBM

Lobbying Spend: $850,000

With a yearly focus on federal contracts and appropriations, corporate taxes and patents, IBM put more than $810,000 into lobbying during the quarter. That's a 28 percent decrease over the year before, where IBM spent $1.18 million in the third quarter.

10. Apple

Lobbying Spend: $1.01 million

Apply's lobbying spend was up slightly this quarter from the prior year with $1.01 million spent in the third quarter, an increase of 4 percent. While not all were taken up this quarter, key lobbying issues for Apple this year include patent policy, technology in education, and privacy and surveillance.

9. Amazon

Lobbying Spend: $1.18 million

With issues for everything from retail to cloud, it's no wonder Amazon spent a record $1.18 million on lobbying this quarter, a 51 percent increase year over year. Key issues that Amazon has been lobbying for so far this year include IT contract acquisitions, market fairness standards, immigration issues, patents and privacy.

8. Oracle

Lobbying Spend: $1.2 million

Oracle squeezed past Amazon with $1.2 million in spending. That's down 12 percent from the year-ago period, when Oracle spent $1.36 million. Key issues Oracle has lobbied for this year include IT contract appropriations, computer science education funding, patent litigation and immigration issues.

7. Microsoft

Lobbying Spend: $1.66 million

While Microsoft used to far outspend rival Google when it came to lobbying spend, it has recently been falling behind. This quarter, Microsoft spent $1.66 million, less than half of what Google spent. The Redmond, Wash.-based company's spending this quarter was down 26 percent over the $2.23 million it spent in the third quarter of 2013.

6. Time Warner Cable

Lobbying Spend: $1.8 million

With a major acquisition deal on the table, it's easy to see why Time Warner Cable was near the top of the list for lobbying spend. The company is currently seeking approval by the FCC on its $45 billion acquisition by Comcast. While Comcast spent significantly more than Time Warner Cable, the company was still able to spend $1.8 million on lobbying efforts, representing an 8 percent decline from a year earlier.

5. Facebook

Lobbying Spend: $2.45 million

With issues about Visas, privacy and patents on the table, it's no wonder Facebook racked up $2.45 million in spending on lobbying this quarter. That's a 70 percent jump from the same quarter the year before, when the social media giant spent $1.44 million. However, it doesn't quite reach the record lobbying quarter Facebook had in the first quarter when it spent $2.78 million.

4. Verizon

Lobbying Spend: $2.91 million

Like many of the telecom giants, Verizon's spending on lobbying went down this quarter over the same period last year. However, the company still managed to spend $2.91 million on lobbying during the quarter, a 4 percent decrease over the $3.04 million in spent in the same quarter last year. Other than bids for contracts, big issues for Verizon over the past year included wireless tax issues and net neutrality.

3. AT&T

Lobbying Spend: $3.47 million

Despite cutting back big time over the year before, AT&T still landed near the top of the list for tech lobbyers with $3.47 million spent on lobbying this quarter. That represents a 19 percent decrease over the same period last year, where AT&T spent $4.3 million. In September of last year, AT&T was looking to get approval for its acquisition of Alltel assets for $780 million.

2. Google

Lobbying Spend: $3.94 million

Frequently at the top of the list for tech lobbyers, Google came in second place this quarter with $3.94 million spent on lobbying. That represents a 17 percent increase over the year before, but falls far short of Google's record $5.3 million in lobbying spent the quarter before. Consumer Watchdog noted the lobby disclosure statements don't include payments to trade associations, think tanks or academic research centers, which the group called a "Google trademark."

1. Comcast

Lobbying Spend: $4.23 million

It's been a busy few months for Comcast and the federal government, so it's no surprise that they are at the top of the list for tech company lobbying. Comcast is currently seeking approval for its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable from the FCC. Time Warner Cable was also a top spender on the list. This quarter represented a 6 percent increase from $3.98 million spent by the telecom giant in the same quarter last year.