Facebook lobbying surges to $5M amid whistleblower uproar

The number: Facebook’s quarterly spending is a roughly 4 percent increase over the same period last year, and was up 6.7 percent from this year’s second quarter. The company’s only bigger-spending quarter was the first three months of 2020, when it reported spending $5.26 million.

For the most recent quarter, the company said it lobbied on topics including the package of antitrust bills moving through the House, along with misinformation, content moderation and President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

A growing presence in Washington: Since registering its first federal lobbyists in 2009, the company has amassed a small army of them in the nation’s capital, employing 67 of them as of this year spread across nearly two dozen external lobbying firms, according to the money-in-politics nonprofit OpenSecrets.

Facebook’s largest outside lobbying contract last quarter was with the lobbying firm Subject Matter, which is run by Democratic lobbyist and former House leadership aide Steve Elmendorf. Facebook paid the firm $80,000 to lobby on a myriad of issues. It also paid $60,000 to the lobbying firm that employs Biden’s former legislative affairs director from his time as vice president, third-quarter disclosures show.

The other Silicon Valley giants: Amazon came in second among the big tech companies, with $4.7 million in spending for the quarter. Google and Microsoft spent $2.6 million apiece while Apple spent $1.5 million.

The major tech companies are members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Apple and Amazon’s CEOs are members of the Business Roundtable.

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