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Google and Facebook spending more on lobbying

April 22, 2011 |  1:39 pm

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As it faces rising scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators, Google spent more on lobbying in Washington so far this year than in any other quarter since the Internet giant opened a lobbying operation in Washington in 2005.

The Mountain View, Calif., company shelled out $1.48 million, according to documents it filed this week.

That was a 7% increase from the same quarter last year, when Google spent $1.38 million.

Google mostly lobbied Congress, but also focused its efforts on the Commerce Department, the executive office of the president, the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Trade Representative.

The increase in spending comes as Google deals with a number of headaches, including a government inquiry into its $700-million purchase of airline fare tracker ITA Software and the privacy uproar after the launch of social networking service Buzz.

Google got clearance for its purchase of ITA Software after making concessions. The Federal Trade Commission closed an investigation into Buzz after Google agreed to independent audits of its privacy protections.

Google still does not spend as much as Microsoft, which ponied up $1.72 million in the first quarter.

One technology player looking to ramp up its visibility and activity in the nation’s capital is Facebook, which hosted a town hall meeting with President Obama on Wednesday. It spent $230,000 on lobbying in the quarter, which is chump change compared with Google and Microsoft but is more than five times what Facebook spent the first quarter of 2010.

Want to check out the numbers? Here is the link to the U.S. Senate's lobbying database.

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/Public_Disclosure/LDA_reports.htm

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-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Google signage is displayed at the company's headquarters in Mountain View on April 14, 2011. Credit: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

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