Google made the news earlier this week after it was learned that the search engine juggernaut now maintains the eighth largest lobbying budget in Washington. The technology giant spends more than $18 million on lobbying and has now moved its Washington office closer to Capitol Hill.
The purpose of the enhanced lobbying is to encourage lawmakers to hinder new and unrestrained regulations against Google. However, anyone would realize that lobbying is usually meant to garner political favors and introduce legislation that hurts their competitors.
Lobbying efforts by Google have already proved to be successful as reports show it has produced victories involving the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission and a Google worker is helping repair the Obamacare website.
It may be politically incorrect to say so but lobbying isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Petitioning the federal, state or local governments is a right that citizens maintain under the First Amendment. Unfortunately, extensive lobbying has now become part of the status quo because if a company doesn’t take part then it now becomes the enemy of the state as history has shown.
The reason it has grown to a multi-billion-dollar industry is the result of an immense government. Essentially, lobbying wouldn’t exist if government wasn’t so large in size and scope.
Due to the paucity of constitutional dedication, legislators are able to dole out cash, hand out subsidies, create new laws, generate regulations and give away any type of special favors in exchange for campaign contributions and support. This too is the result of big government.
Indeed, businesses have attempted to avoid the political machine, but it proved futile. Bill Gates and Microsoft barely had any lobbying budgets when it was established, but after a fierce political battle in the 1990s over antitrust laws, it now has one of the largest annual lobbying expenditures in the United States.
“Really it just mirrors what Microsoft learned,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told Ad Age. “Silicon Valley has had this view that Washington is irrelevant, and what they do is the future. Eventually you realize that may be what you think in your heart of hearts, but you’re still going to need a lobbyist.”
In the end, a limited government would remedy the lobbyists’ power since there would be fewer items on the buffet line to acquire.
Here is a brief list at the top lobbyists in the country (in no particular order):
– UnitedHealth Group
– Kraft Foods
– AT&T Corp.
– Lockheed Martin
– JPMorgan Chase and Co.