Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc. continued to lead the so-called FAANG companies in spending on Washington lobbying during this year’s first quarter with outlays of $4.80 million and $4.79 million, respectively, according to disclosures filed Tuesday.
The Q1 disclosures come after Jeff Bezos’s e-commerce company and Mark Zuckerberg’s social-media giant spent record amounts last year on influencing U.S. policy makers, shelling out about $19 million and $20 million.
Amazon’s Q1 disclosure shows it lobbied on many topics, including postal reform, high-skilled immigration, semiconductor manufacturing, data protection, minimum wages and electric-vehicle charging infrastructure. Facebook reported focusing on matters that ranged from election integrity and hate speech to artificial intelligence and climate change.
Among the other three FAANG companies, Alphabet Inc.’s Google business disclosed $2.69 million in Q1 outlays after spending about $9 million last year, Apple Inc. reported $1.46 million in lobbying spending for Q1 after 2020’s total of $6.7 million, and Netflix Inc. shelled out just $80,000 following its total of $750,000 last year.
Based on 2020 data aggregated by OpenSecrets.org, Facebook ranks as the sixth-biggest spender on Washington lobbying, behind a top 5 that consists of the National Association of Realtors, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the American Hospital Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Amazon ranks eighth.
The spending by Big Tech comes as the companies increasingly find themselves in U.S. lawmakers’ and regulators’ cross hairs on a range of issues, with both Republicans and Democrats questioning Silicon Valley’s power.
FAANG investors don’t look all that scared of Washington, as the five companies’ stocks mostly have outpaced or roughly kept pace with the S&P 500’s rise of 52% over the past 12 months. Facebook’s stock has tacked on 76% over that period, Amazon shares have gained 44%, and Apple has soared 99%. Alphabet has jumped 87%, while Netflix is up just 18%.