Apple increasing the money it spends on Washington lobbying efforts

Apple is increasing its Washington activities. It spent $4.48 million in 2015 compared to $4.11 million in 2014, a record and a 9% increase from 2014, according to new data from Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group that monitors the lobbying disclosure reports of 16 tech and communications companies. Apple’s fourth quarter spending was $1.03 million vs. $1.19 million, a 13.4 percent decrease.

However, the Cupertino, California-based company’s lobbying expenses are dwarfed by those of many other tech firms. Google's federal lobbying expenses in 2015 topped $16 million for the second year in a row, according to records just filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and analyzed by Consumer Watchdog. The company spent $16.66 million on lobbying in 2015 compared with $16.83 million in 2014, a 1% decrease. 

Google's fourth quarter lobbying expenditure was $3.29 million a 10% decrease from $3.78 million in 2014. The lobbying disclosure reports are still being filed in Google's name, not that of the newly created holding company, Alphabet.

Google's closest rival for spending the most money to influence federal laws and regulations in the group of 16 companies was Comcast, which reported spending $15.63 million, the records show. Microsoft, Google's archrival, which used to regularly outspend the Internet giant, spent roughly half of what Google spent. Microsoft reported spending $8.49 million, a 2% increase from $8.33 million spent on 2014 lobbying. Fourth quarter lobbing expenses were $2.47 million compared to $2.25 million, a 9.1%increase from 2014.

Facebook, which has substantially increased its Washington presence over the last four years, posted another company record in its effort to influence policymakers.  Spending increased 5.5% to $9.85 million from $9.34 million in 2014. Fourth quarter spending was $2.13 million compared to $1.99 million in 2014, an increase of 7%.

Amazon also posted a company record its disclosure forms show. The company’s reported lobbying expenditures soared 91.4% to $9.07 million compared to $4.74 million in 2014. Fourth quarter spending was $2.99 million vs. $1.67 million, an increase of 79%.