Google’s Spending On Government Lobbying Is Surging Amidst Antitrust Lawsuits

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Jason Cohen Contributor
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Google’s parent company Alphabet has substantially increased its spending on federal lobbying as it faces lawsuits alleging antitrust violations, according to OpenSecrets.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is engaged in two antitrust lawsuits against Google; Alphabet has boosted its federal lobbying during the second quarter of 2023 to a level not seen in the past five years, according to OpenSecrets. The company allocated close to $7.5 million for government lobbying during the first half of 2023, which is nearly 8% more than it spent during the first six months of 2022. (RELATED: Could The Biden Admin’s Antitrust Crusade Against Big Tech End Up Hurting Consumers?)

The company has not spent this much on federal lobbying in a similar time span since 2018 when Google also faced antitrust scrutiny, according to CNBC.

Alphabet has paid 80 federal lobbyists in the first half of 2023, and the company has lobbied on antitrust issues as well as three particular bills, according to OpenSecrets.

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 12: Kent Walker, President of Global Affairs at Google and Alphabet, trailed by Ian Madrigal dressed as the “Monopoly Man”departs federal court September 12, 2023 in Washington, DC. Google will defend its default-search deals in an antitrust trial against the Justice Department that began today. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

One bipartisan bill the tech giant lobbied on is called the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and it would block Google and other big companies from giving special treatment to their own products while handicapping other firms’ products on their platform.

The DOJ has indicated its backing of the bill, stating it would validate “the illegality of behaviors that reduce incentives for smaller or newer firms to innovate and compete” and “would supplement the existing antitrust laws in preventing the largest digital companies from abusing and exploiting their dominant positions to the detriment of competition and the competitive process.”

Similarly, Alphabet lobbied for the Open App Markets Act, which would block large app stores from giving special treatment to their own company’s products, according to OpenSecrets.

Moreover, Alphabet lobbied for the Advertising Middlemen Endangering Rigorous Internet Competition Accountability Act, which would prohibit tech giants from owning two or more categories of services in online advertising.

“Google’s contracts ensure that rivals cannot match the search quality ad monetization, especially on phones,” the DOJ alleges. “Through this feedback loop, this wheel has been turning for more than 12 years. It always turns to Google’s advantage.”

The DOJ first filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google during former President Donald Trump’s administration in 2020, alleging the company illegally maintained a monopoly in the search market, asserting the tech giant abused its dominant market position to ensure its search engine would be the default on web browsers. The second antitrust lawsuit against Google filed in January alleges the company illegally maintained a monopoly in digital advertising by dominating with several top products in the market.

Google did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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