At first, Google opposed Washington, D.C.’s “pay to play” culture when it opened it’s first one-man lobbying firm nine years ago. Today, however, Google can be found at the top of Washington’s lobbying ranks among companies like General Electric who spend a good deal on corporate lobbying expenditures. The number of groups Google has funded has doubled within the last four years and includes nearly 140 business trade groups, advocacy organizations, and think tanks.
Google’s increasing presence in Washington spurred from its expanding ideas and ambitions, working to defend itself against a series or executive and legislative regulation activities. Currently, Google is working to protect its rights to collect and shield consumer data from the government. One of Google’s top lobbyists said that the company aims to help policymakers understand Google’s business model and work to keep the Internet open to aid the creation of economic opportunity.
In order to broaden its appeal, Google has split its campaign donations equally among Democrats and Republicans. The company has also developed new ways to influence decision-makers by offering free training sessions to Capitol Hill staffers and campaign operatives of both parties on how to use Google products that can help target voters. Google has also begun to assist charities by donating in-kind advertisements, customized YouTube channels, and Web site analytics to organizations and think tanks that are allied with the company’s goals.
While there are some critics of Google’s lobbying efforts, many agree that the company’s actions are necessary on the Washington, D.C. stage. Large corporations have used financial means to foster advocates and allies for a countless number of decades. Google was forced to do the same or risk the possibility of being left behind, overshadowed by larger corporations, or hindered by uninformed policy decisions.
For more information about Google’s lobbying efforts, please visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-google-is-transforming-power-and-politicsgoogle-once-disdainful-of-lobbying-now-a-master-of-washington-influence/2014/04/12/51648b92-b4d3-11e3-8cb6-284052554d74_story.html.