The fact that many major tech companies are headquartered in Silicon Valley doesn’t mean they don’t have a voice in Washington as well. According to documents filed in accordance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act, companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon spend millions every year trying to legally influence D.C. lawmakers.
Interestingly, the quarterly filings not only reveal how much the companies spend on their lobbying efforts, they also provide us with information on which issues these efforts are related to. Take Google for example: in the second quarter of 2017, the search giant spent $5.9 million on lobbying with respect to issues ranging from more obvious ones such as regulation of online advertising and immigration of highly skilled individuals to more surprising ones such as wind power and unmanned aerial systems technology.
The following chart shows how the lobbying expenditure of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon has developed over the past few years. For additional information please refer to the official database.