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Google's lobbying tab tops $2 million in a quarter for first time

July 21, 2011 | 12:35 pm

Capitol
Google Inc. spent more than $2 million on lobbying in the second quarter as it came under heightened government scrutiny for the business practices of its Internet search engine.

Its bill for April to June topped $2.1 million, a 54% increase from $1.34 million in the same quarter last year. That's the most Google has spent on lobbying in a quarter since it opened its Washington office in 2005.

It's also spending more on lobbying than its nemesis Microsoft Corp., which has urged government regulators to scrutinize Google.

The numbers were released in documents filed late Wednesday.

Regulators in the U.S. and in Europe are stepping up their scrutiny of Google, which dominates the Internet search market. The Mountain View, Calif., company received a subpoena last month from the Federal Trade Commission concerning a review of "its business practices, including search and advertising," according to a regulatory filing. The company, like Microsoft in the 1990s, will have to convince regulators that it's not using its dominance to shut out competitors and harm consumers.

Facebook Inc. also ran up a bigger lobbying tab in the second quarter. Facebook spent $320,000, which is nearly as much as it spent on lobbying in all of 2010. Facebook spent $351,390 on Washington lobbying last year, compared with Google's $5.2 million and Microsoft's $6.9 million. Facebook has a small but fast-growing staff in Washington.

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-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: U.S. Capitol; Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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