Tech Industry Spends Record Sums to Influence President Trump’s Washington

Rafia Shaikh
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The documents suggesting such a plan are outdated.

When the results of the 2016 Presidential election showed up, Apple's Tim Cook was clear about his strategy. "Personally, I’ve never found being on the sideline a successful place to be," he had written in one of his several letters to his employees during the post-election uncertainty. "The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena." While it's unclear if President Donald Trump would have been more open to suggestions from the Silicon Valley if he would have received any support during the campaign period, it appears that the tech industry is now shelling out millions to lobby Washington DC.

Latest numbers show that some of the biggest tech companies spent a record amount of money lobbying President Trump over the last three months.

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Most expensive quarter for the industry lobbying President Trump

New federal records filed by the Office of the Clerk of the US House of Representatives and reported by Recode reveal that Amazon, Google, and Apple have spent a combined total of $10 million to shape federal policy on privacy, immigration, and taxes among several other issues. "It’s the most expensive quarter ever for these tech giants," Recode writes.

During the election campaign, the technology sector continued to vocally support Hillary Clinton and it looks like the industry is now paying the price. Apple alone has spent an all-time high of $2.2 million between April 1 and June 30, up from its previous record of $1.4 million that it spent during the first three months of Trump's presidency. In total, Apple has now spent close to $3.6 million on lobbying during the new president's term, so far. Apple's money has focused on tax, immigration, and surveillance reforms, among other issues. Cook reportedly also spoke to President Trump directly about the immigration issues during a private reception at the White House.

Google has yet again spent the most of the money, spending nearly $5.4 million in the second quarter of the year, focusing its efforts on self-driving car regulations, surveillance reforms and other issues. Amazon spent $3.2 million, while Facebook shelled out $2.3 million in the last quarter.

"There are clearly areas where we're not nearly on the same page," Cook had said in a recent interview with Bloomberg. The latest bills reflect that Cook along with his colleagues in the industry is trying to compromise and work with the new president.

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