Big Internet Keeps the Lobby Dollars Flowing

Broadcasters still spending, too

It's a truism on Capitol Hill: Big Internet continues to shell out big bucks to lobby the halls of Congress.

Stepping up its influence game, Facebook increased lobby spending by 277 percent in the first quarter to $2.45 million, according to public disclosure files. The first-quarter spending is more than half of what Facebook spent for all of 2012.

"Clearly Facebook has decided to buy its way into Washington," said John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog's privacy project, which analyzed spending by tech companies.

Having resolved its antitrust probe with the Federal Trade Commission, Google, the biggest spender among the Internet giants, actually cut back in first-quarter spending to $3.35 million, a 33 percent drop.

Microsoft spending was up 41 percent to $2.53 million.

Amazon increased its spending by 32 percent to $857,000.

Even Apple is slowly increasing its spending, though it lags the other Internet giants. Apple spent $720,000 in the quarter, up 44 percent.

Though the Internet may be the new force in Washington, old media is still no slouch when it comes to throwing around the cash. The National Association of Broadcasters, working to make sure the voluntary auction of TV spectrum goes off without a hitch, spent $4.2 million in first quarter, about the same as last year.