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Silicon Valley spends millions to influence Washington

Oracle and Google were the top Silicon Valley spenders in Washington last year as they fought antitrust issues.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor on

The Center for Responsive Politics (Opensecrets.org) has collected information on how much corporate America spends to influence the US government. In 2009, more than 15,600 companies spent at least $3.2 billion.

The computer/Internet industries were the third largest industry lobbying Washington, well above the oil and gas industry.

Here are the top five industries lobbying Washington in 2009 from data compiled by Opensecrets.org.

Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $1,788,456,774

Insurance $1,328,484,288

Electric Utilities $1,221,825,728

Computers/Internet $1,011,127,902

Business Associations $935,616,339

Oil & Gas $901,093,876

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In Silicon Valley, Oracle spent the most in 2009: $5.1 million, followed by Google with $4 million. However, in Q4 2009, Google outspent Oracle. Since 2005, Google has increased its spend on lobbyists by nearly 16 times, from $260,000 to $4.03 million in 2009.

It's interesting to note that both Oracle and Google are in the anti-trust spotlight. Oracle has had to fight many antirust issues because of its acquisitions, and so far, it has won. Google has not done as well. In 2008, Google had to abandon a search advertising agreement with Yahoo because the DOJ said it would file suit to block it.

The San Jose Mercury has put together a great graphic on how much, and who, has spent the most in Washington:

Silicon Valley Lobbying

Silicon Valley Lobbying

Chris O'Brien at the San Jose Mercury News spoke with Alan Davidson, Head of US Public Policy at Google. [O'Brien: Google joins the titans of Silicon Valley lobbying]

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