The Google number is striking given the company and its leadership’s ties to the Obama administration. Chairman Eric Schmidt, a major Democratic donor, will serve on the board of Organizing for Action, the new nonprofit made up of President Barack Obama’s army of grass-roots campaign supporters. Google has also become a fixture at national party conventions and the inauguration. On Sunday, the company partnered with the Center for American Progress to fete female members of Congress.
The Internet Association, a new trade group launched earlier this year to represent Google, eBay, Amazon and other Internet interests, just registered its first two lobbyists, Michael Beckerman and Gina Woodworth. The group reported no spending in 2012.
Gun Policy Battles
In the aftermath of the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, National Rifle Association lobbyists suspended activity, swinging into action only in the final weeks of the year.
The $2.5 million the NRA spent in 2012 represented a slight drop from 2011, but the group still flexed major muscle during the campaign season, investing almost $19 million in congressional races.
As the first legislative responses to Obama’s sweeping gun control proposals emerge, there is little doubt the NRA and its opponents, including Mayors Against Illegal Guns, will increase their lobbying activity.
Stop the Sequester
The threat of automatic defense cuts known as the sequester, which Congress delayed in December, explain why the Aerospace Industries Association spent record levels on lobbying this past year.
The AIA reported $2.9 million for 2012, up from $2.2 million in 2011. Both years represented a dramatic uptick in the group’s previous lobbying filings, which as recently as 2010 did not break $1 million.
The AIA has taken a leading role in urging Congress to come up with alternatives to the sequester. Part of that effort is the AIA-run “Second to None” campaign, group spokesman Dan Stohr said.
“My personal lobbying reports went from almost zero to almost half of my time,” Stohr said. Stohr is not a registered lobbyist, however, because he does not have meetings with covered government officials. Instead, he focuses on messaging and media relations.
The National Association of Manufacturers, which has issued grim reports estimating the effects of the sequester, reported an uptick in K Street spending from $8.2 million in 2011 to $9.2 million in 2012.
The looming cuts, which still could materialize this year, didn’t persuade every defense player to boost lobbying. Lockheed Martin Corp. reported spending $5.2 million for both 2012 and 2011. And General Dynamics Corp. reported a decline in lobby spending, $11.4 million in 2011 to $10.8 million last year. Ditto for United Technologies Corp., which last year reported $13.1 million, down from 2011’s $14.3 million.