Google, AT&T and Verizon Communications were among the top corporate lobbyers of the U.S. government in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data released recently by the House of Representatives.
In the fourth quarter, Verizon spent $3.48 million, AT&T spent $3.4 million and Google spent $3.35 million, putting them among the top 10 spenders for the period. For its part, Microsoft spent $2.43 million in the same time frame.
Google's lobbying tab for the year was up 70% from 2011, and Facebook's spending in the fourth quarter was up 318% from a year earlier, according to Consumer Watchdog.
The nonprofit consumer advocacy group finds cause for concern in the upward trend. "[Google and Facebook] are following the corrupt tradition in Washington: Buying what you want," said John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project.
Google didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on its lobbying efforts. Verizon and Microsoft refused to comment.
A Facebook spokesperson said the social network's lobbying efforts reflect, among other things, its commitment to "explaining... the actions we take to protect the billion-plus people who use our service."
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.