Amazon and Meta spent record amount on lobbying Congress in 2021

Legislation targeting the dominant market share of tech giants has been cited as a key reason for the increase in spending

Tom Fenton
Monday 24 January 2022 19:04 EST
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Facebook’s newly rebranded parent company Meta, as well as delivery giant Amazon, both spent record sums on federal lobbying in the year 2021, as they seemingly attempted to push back against legislation which seeks to limit their respective market power.

Research collated by OpenSecrets shows that the two mega-companies are top spenders when it comes to the tech industry, as they substantially outspent the likes of Google in the same 12 month period.

As The Hill first reported, in filings submitted to Congress last Thursday, it was revealed that Amazon and its subsidiaries spent roughly $20.3m to lobby Congress and the federal government, with Meta forking out just over $20m. This represented an increase of around seven per cent for both companies when compared to the previous calendar year.

One of the only major tech companies that spent less in 2021 (when compared to the previous year) was Apple, which parted with $6.5m in an attempt to influence policymakers - a $200,000 decrease on 2020’s sum total.

Last year saw Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Google chief Sundar Pichai personally meet with senators, urging them to oppose the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.

Amazon was one of the highest spenders when it came to federal lobbying

Senator Ted Cruz said he spent 40 minutes talking directly to Mr Cook about the bill on Wednesday, CNBC reported, which stands in stark contrast to the Apple boss’ 2019 statement where he claimed he didn't believe in lobbying.

Multiple reports suggest that both companies, as well as trade associations, besieged Capitol Hill with an abundance of warnings that the bill would hamstring American companies - and limit their ability to compete with their Chinese counterparts.

Apple’s great rival, Microsoft, has also continued with lobbying efforts in recent years, spending around $10.2m in 2021, which matched their 2019 outlay.

While not a headline-grabbing in terms of lobbying expenditure, as The Hill points out, Microsoft has “quietly exerted its influence in key legislative battles” of late, even if it remained more hands-off on the issue of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.

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