Google boosts federal lobbying
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc boosted its spending to lobby the U.S. government by 54 percent in the second quarter, as the world's No.1 Internet search engine faces an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.
Google's total federal lobbying spending during the quarter jumped to $2.06 million compared with $1.48 million in the first quarter and $1.34 million in the year-earlier period, according to documents filed by the company late on Wednesday.
Among the one dozen issues Google officials discussed with the federal government were privacy and competition issues in online advertising, as well as regulation of online advertising.
Google reported its lobbyists met with officials from the FTC, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of representatives and the Executive Office of the President to discuss those topics.
Last month, Google disclosed the FTC was investigating some of its business practices. The company also faces antitrust investigations from several states and in the European Union.
"We want to help policymakers understand our business and the work we do to keep the Internet open, to encourage innovation, and to create economic opportunity. Lobbying is a part of that process," a Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
Google critics contend the Internet giant uses its search dominance to gain an unfair advantage over rivals, giving top-billing to its own services such as online maps, shopping and travel.
Some legal experts believe the FTC investigation is unlikely to result in the most drastic repercussions, such as breaking up the company or regulating its Web search algorithm, but could constrain Google's efforts to acquire companies and expand into new markets.
Google, which generated roughly $29 billion in revenue in 2010, outspent rivals Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc in lobbying spending in the second quarter. Social networking giant Facebook spent $320,000 in federal lobbying during the quarter, compared with roughly $60,000 in the second quarter of 2010.
Google's spending remains below that of some companies in other industries, such as Verizon Communications Inc and Exxon Mobil Corp, which spent $4.38 million and $3.81 million, respectively, during the second quarter.
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Andre Grenon)