While Apple may spend less than half that of Microsoft and a quarter that of Google on Washington D.C. lobbying, the company under Tim Cook is investing an increasing amount of its cash in its influence around the United States capital.
As Bloomberg reports, data from OpenSecrets.org puts Apple’s spending on Washington lobbyists from January through September last year at $2.9 million (a number which doesn’t include the last quarter of 2014) and almost $3.5 million during the full 2013 period. For perspective, Apple’s lobbyist spending only first reached $1 million annually in 2006, the year before the iPhone’s introduction and first crossed $2 million in 2011.
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Lobbyist of course work to help their clients increase their influence in the decision making process in Washington, especially as it relates to legislation and regulation policy, and as Apple has grown over the years, its naturally attracted more scrutiny as well.
For example, the company hired Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr last fall to focus on lobbying for trade and patent policy in favor of Apple after the law firm represented the iPhone maker in past patent cases including against Samsung.
As chief executive, Tim Cook has been no stranger to Washington D.C. either representing Apple on a number of occasions. The Apple CEO was spotted in the nation’s capital last month promoting World AIDS Day at various Apple Store locations, a trip Bloomberg notes didn’t go without a meeting with Senator Orrin Hatch, who will head the Senate Finance Committee this year.
In previous years, notably, Cook has met with President Obama alongside other tech executives to discuss surveillance issues that impact iPhone users, appeared before Congress to defend Apple’s tax practices, and served as a guest to the President during the State of the Union address.
As Apple pushes forward this year with the launch of its Watch, which has health tracking features, the company will likely continue working with the FDA, and with no signs of patent litigation slowing down. Apple and other tech companies have also taken a public stance on the use of strong device encryption, which hasn’t pleased government officials ranging from the head of the FBI to the US attorney general. In short, expect Apple to continue investing in its Washington influence.