[Governance] Big Tech, Big Cash: But why lobby when you can sit on the policy table

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Sat Apr 3 11:19:40 EDT 2021

These poor big tech guys having to unnecessarily spend so much of their
hard earned money will find respite if instead of all this shadowy work
they can directly have seats at the policy making table, as many here
are working so hard to to get them, like with the new proposed MS body
for global digital policy making .. Public interest spirited civil
society organisations as this US based NGO Public Citizen, that brought
out this  excellent report, can also then stop howling against our big
tech benefactors.


Link to report: https://www.citizen.org/article/big-tech-lobbying-update/

“Facebook and Amazon are now the* two biggest corporate lobbying
spenders* in the country.”

  *Big Tech, Big Cash: Washington’s New Power Players*

    An updated analysis of the rise in lobbying and campaign
    contributions from the Big Tech companies: Amazon, Apple, Facebook,
    and Google

    Executive Summary

In recent years, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have all come under
increased scrutiny for threatening our privacy, democracy, small
businesses, and workers.

In the race to amass monopoly power in their respective markets, these
corporations have developed predatory business practices that harvest
user data for profit^[1] and facilitated discrimination by race,
religion, national origin,^[2] age,^[3] and gender.^[4] Facebook and
Google have wielded unprecedented influence over our democratic
process.^[5] Amazon has been accused of subjecting workers to unsafe
working conditions during COVID-19,^[6] while the plurality of its
workforce is Black, brown, and/or non-white.^[7] All of these companies
have killed, rather than fostered innovation.^[8]

Increased investments in Washington have allowed these monopolists to
harm consumers, workers, and other businesses alike, with relatively
little accountability to date. A report Public Citizen released in 2019
<https://www.citizen.org/article/new-economy-titans-old-school-tactics/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=5d62d87d-0456-4903-a47d-19602d1e1ad8> (covering
up to the 2018 election cycle) detailed how Big Tech corporations have
blanketed Capitol Hill with lobbyists and lavished members of Congress
with campaign contributions.

This is an update of that report, based on data provided by the Center
for Responsive Politics <https://www.opensecrets.org/>. Since the 2020
election cycle has ended, Public Citizen reevaluated Big Tech’s
influence over the government by analyzing the tech companies’ lobbying
spending and campaign contributions.

Here are the key findings of this report:

  * Facebook and Amazon are now the* two biggest corporate lobbying
    spenders* in the country.^[9]
  * Big Tech has eclipsed yesterday’s big lobbying spenders, Big Oil and
    Big Tobacco. In 2020, Amazon and Facebook spent *nearly twice as
    much* as Exxon and Philip Morris on lobbying.
  * During the 2020 election cycle, Big Tech spent *$124 million in
    lobbying and campaign contributions *–– breaking its own records
    from past election cycles.
  * Amazon and Facebook drove most of this growth. From the years of
    2018-2020, Amazon *increased spending by 30%* while Facebook *added
    an astounding 56%* to its Washington investment.
  * The four Big Tech companies recruited more lobbyists into their
    army, increasing its ranks by*40 new lobbyists*, from 293 in 2018 to
    333 in 2020.^[10]
  * Big Tech PACs, lobbyists, and employees contributed *over 33% more
    *in the 2020 election cycle than they did in the 2018 cycle, for *an
    increase of over $4 million *in funds, and a *total of nearly $16.5
    million *in contributions to the election cycle. This marks the
    greatest cycle-over-cycle increase in campaign contributions from
    Big Tech in the ten-year span Public Citizen reviewed.
  * Big Tech’s lobbyists are not just numerous, they are also among the
    most influential in Washington. Among the 10 lobbyists who were the
    biggest contributors to the 2020 election cycle, *half* lobby on
    behalf of at least one of the four Big Tech companies. Together,
    just these five lobbyists contributed *over $2 million* to the 2020
  * Nearly all *(94%)* members of Congress with jurisdiction over
    privacy and antitrust issues have received money from a Big Tech
    corporate PAC or lobbyist. In total, just in 2020, Big Tech PACs and
    lobbyists have *contributed about $3.2 million *to lawmakers tasked
    with regulating them.

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