Business & Lobbying

Google fires lobbying firms in government operations shake-up: report

Google recently fired roughly six of the large lobbying firms working on retainer for the company, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The move is part of a major overhaul of the tech giant's government affairs operation. Google also restructured its policy team, losing two senior officials in Washington, D.C., according to the report. The firms it fired made up more than $20 million of Google's annual lobbying bill. 

The shake-up comes as Google and other tech giants prepare for an antitrust crackdown and for questions from legislators and regulators.

Google has spent more than $3.5 million on lobbying expenditures so far in 2019. In 2018, it spent more than $21.7 million. 

The Journal reported that longtime Republican strategist Charlie Black is one of the lobbyists no longer working for Google. 

The move is a major step under Google's new head of policy and government relations. Karan Bhatia, a former senior trade representative under President George W. Bush, joined the company from General Electric last summer.

Former Rep. Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.), who was the head of Google's D.C. office, stepped down in 2018, and no replacement has been named.

Another policy staffer, Adam Kovacevich, who led Google through the Federal Trade Commission investigation over anticompetitive tactics in 2012, also recently departed, according to the Journal.

Updated at 10:34 a.m.

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