Tech lobbying soars in 2009

Computer and Internet companies spent well over $120 million last year on federal lobbying efforts, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That means the industry has devoted more than $1 billion to federal lobbying over the past decade -- the fourth-highest amount spent by any industry in the center's yearly study.

Broken down, the list of the top 20 tech lobbying spenders published this week features a number of expected names. Microsoft tops the list, having spent about $6.7 million in 2009. Google places fifth, devoting more than $4 million to federal lobbying last year, followed by companies like Intel, VeriSign and Yahoo! (view the full list here).

But the Center notes a handful of new companies that spent notable amounts last year. Among them is Facebook, which committed about $207,000 to "tell the great Silicon Valley story about Facebook and its innovations, so they understand where the company came from and where it's going and how it's changing communication," according to the Center.

Facebook is likely to expand its operations in the coming year, too, now that it has hired new staffers to focus on public policy issues.