Amazon, Uber continue lobbying investments

Amazon, Uber continue lobbying investments
© Greg Nash

Uber and Amazon both spent more heavily on lobbying in the third quarter of this year than in the same period during 2015, despite the fact that Congress has been relatively quiet.

Though the companies are at very different stages of their lifecycles — Amazon in a mainstay and Uber is a relative newcomer — it reflects recents investments in Washington on the part of both firms. The firms lobby both Congress and federal agencies.

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​Amazon spent roughly $2.7 million on lobbying in the third quarter of 2016, according to a disclosure form. That tops the roughly $2 million it spent in the same period in 2015.

It is reflective of the company’s increased investment in federal lobbying at a time when its business has grown to include areas as varied as drones and cloud computing.

Uber, meanwhile, spent $340,000 on lobbying in the third quarter of the year. The figure marks an increase from the $110,000 it spent on lobbying in the third quarter of 2015.

In total, the company has spent $970,000 on lobbying this year, putting it on track to surpass $1 million in spending by the end of the year. The ride-hail firm also recently hired Mayer Brown, a law firm, to lobby on “market access.”

Uber's rival Lyft also spent more during the third quarter of the year than it has in the past. Both companies are heavily engaged in the debate over self-driving cars.

Uber spent slightly more in the third quarter than in the second of 2016; Amazon spent less.

The companies spent aggressively despite that the fact that Congress has been relatively inactive this year because of the election. Lawmakers are more likely to be out on the campaign trail than legislating with the White House up for grabs.

Spending remained relatively stagnant at many other tech companies.

Google spent $3.8 million on lobbying in the third quarter of this year, up less than $200,000 from the same period in 2015. The search firm is regularly the top spender among internet companies in Washington.

Social media giant Facebook spent about $2 million in the third quarter, down more than $500,000 year-over-year. At just over $1 million, Apple’s spending was up slightly from the third quarter of 2015.