Twitter seeks clout with Washington lobbyist

Twitter is ready to play the Washington power game.

The company is starting its own political action committee — called Twitter#PAC — and has registered its first in-house lobbyist as it seeks influence in the nation’s capital.

ADVERTISEMENT
Twitter staffer William Carty, a former congressional staffer, officially registered on July 1 as a lobbyist for the company, according to disclosure forms released on Friday. He be working on “issues related to patent reform, privacy, Internet freedom and net neutrality,” according to the form.

Though Carty is Twitter’s sole registered lobbyist, he works closely with other Capitol Hill veterans. Colin Crowell, the private company’s vice president of global public policy, worked as a counsel to the former chief of the Federal Communications Commission and spent two decades in then-Rep. Ed Markey’s (D-Mass.) office.

The company also announced Friday that it has hired former House and Senate press aide Nu Wexler to head up the company’s public policy communications.

The reinforced D.C. team will be complimented by the PAC, which companies have long used to win allies in Congress by showering key lawmakers with campaign contributions.

The Twitter#PAC will be able to raise funds from company employees and then use the money to make donations to candidates.

The two new tools in Twitter’s arsenal — a fundraising PAC and a Hill-connected advocate — allow the private company to extend its influence inside the Beltway. But it has a long way to go before it matches the frenzied activity of other tech giants.

Twitter has yet to hire any lobby firms in the Washington, and is a holdout from the The Internet Association — a mammoth advocacy group with members such as eBay, Amazon, PayPal, Google and Facebook.

Google has already spent $6.8 million on lobbying so far this year, according to records, and Facebook has paid $3.6 million to its own staff and outside lobbyists in the first half of 2013.