According to government documents, some of the biggest names in technology have been spending millions on Congress during the third quarter — at a time when they are under intensifying regulatory scrutiny from Washington.
The disclosures that are required by the Lobbying Disclosure Act revealed that Google spent $4.17 million influencing Congress during the most recent quarter. Twitter spent $120,000 while Facebook spent $2.85 million. The figures were initially reported by Bloomberg News.
Last quarter, Google spent $5.93 million influencing lawmakers, while Twitter and Facebook spent $120,000 and $2.38 million respectively.
The three tech giants are sending lawyers to U.S. congressional committees on November 1 to testify on their behalf in response to Russian political ad buying on their platforms during the election in 2016.
The controversy has resulted to lawmakers proposing for more regulation for online ads. On October 19, three senators — Sens. D-Minn., and Mark Warner, Amy Klobuchar, D-Va., and John McCain, R-Ariz. — co-sponsored the bi-partisan “Honest Ads Act.”
The legislation requires disclosures and disclaimers to the Federal Election Commission for online political advertisements. Platforms with more than 50 million unique monthly users would have to maintain a public database of political ads, and the firms would have to make “reasonable” efforts to stop foreign nations from interfering with U.S. elections through the use of ads.
Other tech companies that disclosed huge lobbying amounts this past quarter include Microsoft ($1.95 million), Amazon ($3.41 million), Apple ($1.86 million) and Oracle ($3.82 million), among others.