Google increased its lobbying spending in the first quarter by a whopping 57 percent over the previous year as it paid $1.3 million to influence lawmakers and regulators, according to public records filed on Tuesday.
Lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Senate Office of Public Affairs
show Google spent $880,000 in the first quarter of 2009. Lobbying expenses for all of 2009 totaled $4.03 million. First quarter spending in 2010 was up 23 percent from the $1.12 million the Internet giant spent in the fourth quarter of 2009.
, a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization, called on the Department of Justice to consider breaking Google up because of uncompetitive practices.
The organization noted that a Google spokesperson once had the audacity to claim the company set up its Washington lobby shop because "it was important to give our users a voice in Washington."
"Google is relatively new to the influence-peddling game, but they?re now one of the highest rollers in Washington," said John M. Simpson, consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog.
"Despite what Google claimed, it?s not about consumers at all," said Simpson. "Google is seeking laws that let the company do whatever it wants in its quest for record profits. If that means record sums on influence-peddling, so be it."
Google?s lobbying disclosure form includes both money it spent itself and money paid to outside firms to lobby on its behalf.