Four of the largest tech companies based in Silicon Valley are bringing on lobbyists and spending millions of dollars in Washington, D.C. as the industry faces increased criticism and scrutiny.
According to The New York Times, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have been on a lobbying spree to the tune of a combined $55 million in 2018. They spent about half that amount in 2016.
A report in January showed Microsoft, at $9.52 million, was another big spender on lobbying last year.
The tech industry faces challenges in the coming months and years as regulators take aim at them regarding data leaks and other privacy concerns, labor practices, and antitrust concerns.
The Times reported 238 lobbyists have registered in 2019 to represent the four aforementioned companies, a list that includes employees and contractors. Roughly three-quarters of those lobbyists previously had jobs in the government or on political campaigns.
The lobbyists are using various tactics to try to influence legislation. In the case of the Internet Association, whose client roster includes Amazon, Facebook, and Google, that meant naming Ivanka Trump its latest Internet Freedom Award winner.
The four tech companies are also expanding their footprint in the nation's capital to have more space for lobbyists and policy experts to work.
Tech executives have appeared at various congressional hearings in recent years to answer questions largely based around privacy concerns after a slew of data leaks and other incidents exposed millions of Americans' data on the Internet.
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