November 6, 2013
Google Inc. (GOOG) is moving its Washington office closer to Capitol Hill after spending $18.2 million on lobbying, more than Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) and enough to rank the technology company as the eighth-biggest advocacy spender.
It’s an investment that’s already paying off in increased influence. Google has hired lobbyists and boosted political giving on its way to wins at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission, and it has entrée to the White House where an employee on leave is helping fix the ailing Obamacare website.
The buildup from an office with two lobbyists 10 years ago to one now with at least 11, and the resulting web of connections, will help as Google seeks to end National Security Agency intrusions into its data that the company calls an “outrage.”
“Google has put itself in the position of being heard when they need to be heard,” Jeffrey Birnbaum, president of BGR Public Relations, a Washington-based media strategy firm, said in an interview. “Decision makers at least know what Google is thinking and what policies it prefers.”