Google spends record sum on lobbying in Q1
Search giant doles out $5.5m on cosying up to US Congress on patents, foreign labour, net neutrality
Google spent $5.5m, during the first quarter of this year, on lobbying members of the US Congress, a record spend for the company, according to a Reuters report.
Google ranked ninth in lobbying spending in 2014, doling out $16.8m.
The company has historically faced criticism from industry rivals in its domestic market and probes from regulators over alleged abuse of its dominant position in Web search to position its own services over those of competitors.
The European Union's competition watchdog this month accused Google of similar malpractices and suggested hefty fines could be levied against the US company. The EU also launched a probe into Google's leverage of its Android OS to gain similar advantages in the mobile space.
The Q1 spend reportedly included a bid to stymie aggressive patent litigation, and efforts to allow skilled foreign workers to more easily stay in the US, as well as campaigning on net neutrality, tax reform and broadband deployment.
"Google's big spending in Washington could be meant in part to rally Congress and the White House to come to its defence in the face of the EU's antitrust case against the company," said Viveca Novak, of the Centre for Responsive Politics.
"It needs allies, the more prominent the better, and it also wants to stave off any similar government inquiries stateside."