When it comes to big tech spenders in Washington, no one tops Google. This third quarter, the Internet giant shelled out $4.18 million to influence political decision-makers in a 76 percent increase over last year during the same period. So far in 2012, Google has spent $13.13 million to influence political decision-makers, already topping the 2011 total of $9.68 million.
Facebook also continues to spend more. Though steadily increasing, the social network's outlay pales in comparison to Google. The leading social network spent $980,000 in the third quarter, marking a two percent increase over the previous quarter for a 2012 total of $2.59 million.
Microsoft spent $1.86 million in the third quarter, down slightly from $2.06 million in the previous quarter. So far this year, Microsoft has spent $5.71 million.
While Google and Facebook increased spending and Microsoft held steady, Apple steadily decreased lobbying dollars throughout the year from a high of $500,000 in the first quarter to $470,000 in the second and $460,000 in the third.
Privacy was at the top of the list for lobbying, along with data security, cybersecurity and copyright issues—none of which will be going away in Washington any time soon.