Yelp starts PAC for political donations

Yelp is forming its own political action committee as part of a rapid expansion of the online review site's presence in Washington.

Papers to organize the PAC were formally filed with the Federal Election Commission in late December, just weeks after the company's first ever lobbyist officially filed to influence lawmakers and executive branch officials.

The creation of the PAC puts the company on equal footing with other tech companies and will serve as a vehicle for shuttling political donations to candidates.

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Web giants like Facebook and Google have had PACs for years. Through them, the companies have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to support candidates and political parties.

Yelp has not been completely absent from the political arena, however. Chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman donated more than $71,000 to President Obama’s reelection campaign. He also donated to state and national Democratic parties ahead of the 2012 election. 

The treasurer of Yelp's PAC, Joel Edelmann, filed the FEC form officially creating the committee on Dec. 20. 

The San Francisco-based website hired its first lobbyist, Laurent Crenshaw, a former staffer for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), late last year. It has previously supported lobbying through trade groups like TechNet.

In his official lobbying disclosure form, Crenshaw indicated he would be lobbying on patent and copyright reform laws, as well as a potential bill blocking some defamation lawsuits. 

— Megan Wilson contributed.