Facebook Staffs Up Policy Team with First California Lobbyist

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By Sara Inés Calderón Comment

Facebook hired its first registered lobbyist in California last month, and has extended the contract until Sept. 30 of this year according to state documents. William Gonzalez, owner of Sacramento-based Gonzalez Public Affairs, came on board as Facebook’s lobbyist on May 24 of this year, serving under Tim Sparapani, Facebook’s Washington, DC-based director of public policy.

Gonzalez will be working specifically on issues of technology and privacy with the governor’s office and the state legislature, according to the documents.

We’ve written previously about Facebook’s efforts to grow its lobbying presence in Washington, D.C. and spokesman Andrew Noyes tells us that similar motivations were behind hiring Gonzalez.

“It’s our home state so we’re interested in what goes on there,” Noyes says, referring to Facebook’s corporate headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. He wouldn’t elaborate on what specific issues Gonzalez would work on, whether the Sacramento lobbying team would grow or what Gonzalez’s experience brings to the table.

However, state documents indicate that Gonzalez has experience going back to 2001 with both public and private entities. He’s lobbied for public entities, such as the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, as well as non-profits such as Global Green USA and Environmental Defense Fund, among others.

Facebook began to more aggressively lobby Washington D.C. last year, specifically on privacy issues, and has continued in these lobbying efforts since. Hiring Gonzalez is obviously a sign that Facebook continues to mature as a company and wants to have a seat at the table where its interests are concerned; it’ll be noteworthy to see how much they pay Gonzalez and whether they add to their Sacramento team later this year.

[Image via the California Secretary of State]