Snap beefs up DC lobbying

Snap beefs up DC lobbying
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Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., is hiring a new lobbying firm to boost its Washington influence.

Snap hired D.C.-based Monument Policy to help it in areas including “technology, cyber security and lawful access,” according to a lobbying disclosure filing from early March.

"Lawful access" covers user data requests from law enforcement and intelligence agencies for serious crimes like distributing child pornography, trafficking drugs, terrorism and espionage.

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Compliance has become an important issue recently, as technology companies receive more Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders and national security letters from the FBI and other agencies requesting data on their users.

This has led to legal battles between the government and companies like Microsoft and Google, who argue the U.S. is infringing on civil liberties.

Monument is no stranger to lobbying on behalf of technology companies; the firm’s clients have included Amazon, Linkedin, Microsoft and Netflix, among others.

Snap is contracting the services of C. Stewart Verdery, Andrew Howell, Stephanie Martz and Ashley Hoy. The four have extensive experience in Washington, D.C., boasting former posts on the Hill, the Department of Homeland Security and at the White House.

Snap had previously employed the services of D.C. lobbying firms Heather Podesta and Partners and Jochum, Shore & Trossevin. The company hired the former firm in 2014 in the wake of a data breach. The former no longer works for the Venice Beach, Calif. based tech company.

Despite Snap’s record-breaking IPO last month, the photo- and video-sharing company has not become a major lobbying force in D.C. yet. In 2016, the company spent $240,000 on lobbying, an increase from the $120,000 it spent in 2014 but far below the tens of millions spent by companies such as Google and Amazon.

— Megan Wilson contributed.

This story was updated at 3:20 p.m.