WATCH: Following the Big Tech lobbying money

The following is a transcript of Lisa Fletcher’s investigation story into big tech’s lobbying efforts to protect their interests, appearing on “Full Measure.” Watch the video by clicking on the link at the end of the page.

Four major tech companies run the web-based world. But the reach of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple goes far beyond your browser. And as they face new scrutiny about privacy, anti-trust, and data security – they’ve poured cash and lobbyists into Washington to protect their interests. Lisa Fletcher follows the money.

From shopping to socializing and searching, Big tech is all over our small screens. But there’s a much wider ppicture in play. Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook are facing a powerful threat to how they do business.

William Barr: Big tech companies like for instance, Google and Facebook who have drawn much attention of late, pose significant challenges not just for competition but also for the larger issues of privacy and the free flow of ideas.

The Department of Jusice is pressing an antitrust review of the tech giants – scrutiny similar to – and that brought about the breakup of oil companies a century ago – or the bell system in the 80s. So the new tech is resorting to an age old tactic – flooding washington with money and lobbyists.

Lisa Gilbert: They need to spend money in politics so that politicians remember that one of the reasons they’re in office is because of the campaign dollars that the big 4 gave.

Lisa Gilbert tracks spending with the watchdog group Public Citizen.

Lisa : More than a third of their political spending – of the $346 million that Public Citizen looked at — more than a third has occurred just in the last year. What’s the explanation for that?

Lisa Gilbert: As we’ve seen things like the Russian hacking scandal that was perpetrated through Facebook or data breaches through a tech companies left and right, they have recognized that they’re likely to face privacy regulations and potential antitrust violations. All of that means they need more people here talking about their company’s best interests.

Read more about Attkisson v. DOJ and FBI here.

Lisa: Lobbying by the Big 4 skyrocketed more than 600 percent in 9 years – from just $7.5 million in 2009 to $55.4 million in 2018 – with money going to both Democrats and Republicans.

Lisa: Your report indicated that about half of the members of Congress received money from at least two and in some cases all four of the big four. Are these companies essentially inoculating themselves against onerous legislation?

Lisa Gilbert: Yes, it’s a strategy to be bipartisan That is unusual in corporate political spending. Often we see dollars go toward Republicans. But in this case, Silicon valley is playing differently, they’ve recognized that this legislation is probably inevitable. So they need people in every room on both sides of the aisle.

Lisa: Is it working?

Lisa Gilbert: Certainly we’ve seen legislation slow down. Lisa: In 2009, there were 89 lobbyists working for the Big 4 on Capitol Hill. Last year, we were up to 277.

Lisa Gilbert: They have been hiring folks with deep Rolodexes connected to the committees of jurisdiction, energy and commerce and judiciary, as well as people from the agencies, from the FTC and DOJ to have on the payroll in house as lobbyists.

Lisa: Should we be concerned about the high political spending of the big four in Washington?

Lisa Gilbert: Absolutely. Things that harm consumers, things that harm our elections, real vibrant concerns for America. And the regulation that needs to ensue is vital. So anything that derails the new possible public protections is a problem.

Those antitrust probes are ongoing. Gilbert told us it’s up to regulators like the Federal Trade Commission tasked with looking objectively into vital consumer issues.

Watch the video investigation by clicking the link below:

Fight improper government surveillance. Support Attkisson v. DOJ and FBI over the government computer intrusions of Attkisson’s work while she was a CBS News investigative correspondent. Visit the Attkisson Fourth Amendment Litigation Fund. Click here.

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4 thoughts on “WATCH: Following the Big Tech lobbying money”

  1. I think the article from a personal view is off key.. The media in the main is strictly in favor of the Dems. face book deletes posts that in any way give a view that is not favorable to the Dems. no matter the subject. It shadow marks people who support Trump and in many cases cuts them off from a few hours to maybe two weeks which is called Facebook Jail. It does not matter if the post is true of just presents a tilted view of the Dem. party. Facebook has no problem deleting posts within minutes if they decide to not like a post under the guise the content is against policy! When questioned Facebook hides behind a complete blank wall and will not reply or give a reason why they deleted a post. Google and Trump have had a disagreement as to who should be President and in fact has stated it will not favor Reps. point of view. I believe these two would be the controllers of maybe 60 or more % so the other two are not able to cause much trouble re elections in my reasoning. I think both Facebook and Google should be stopped from deciding what political posts are allowed, unless it incites or gets into unfounded abuse. A public platform should be open and honest without the owners for what ever reason deciding their members have no or few rights to an opinion!

  2. they can call it what they wont. but it is buying the authories and politician’s in America . any one that uses them should run out of the America system

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