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Apple spent $560,000 lobbying in Q1, competitors nearly three times as much

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
According to a recent disclosure report, Apple spent $560,000 lobbying the federal government in the first quarter of 2011, roughly one-third the amount that Google and Microsoft each spent in the same period.

As first noticed by Reuters, Apple spent the same amount on lobbying in the first quarter of the year as it did in the year-ago quarter. Catherine Novelli, the company's vice president of worldwide government affairs, filed the form with the Lobbying Disclosure department of the U.S House of Representatives' Office of the Clerk.

According to the disclosure, Apple used the money to lobby for causes such as patent reform, corporate tax reform, general education technology funding, open internet issues, green technology, free trade agreements and location-based privacy issues.

In some cases, Apple's lobbying efforts appear to have paid off. For example, the company's first-quarter filing lists lobbying activity for "issues related to transportation of batteries." In April, the House of Representatives passed a bill protecting Apple and other electronics manufacturers from limitations that would classify lithium batteries as hazardous materials.

Also worth noting is Apple's efforts in lobbying on issues related to consumer privacy and location-based services. In May, both Apple and Google were called to testify to the U.S. Senate after confusion over an iOS 4 database file storing Wi-Fi hotspot and cell phone tower locations caused controversy. Apple's Novelli testified at a second hearing that the company has no plans to ever track users' locations.

Apple has drawn criticism for its participation in lobbying for foreign currency repatriation tax leniency. Grassroots group US Uncut has staged protests at several Apple retail stores, as well as last month's Worldwide Developers Conference. The group calls for Apple to leave the "Win America Campaign" lobbying group and stop calling for tax cuts for repatriating offshore earnings.

Anti-lobbying protest outside Chicago Lincoln Park Apple Store

Protesters accuse Apple of lobbying to avoid taxes

In the first three months of the year, federal agencies that Apple lobbied included the House, Senate, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Education and Federal Communications Commission.

Apple spends roughly one third the amount on lobbying as its competitors. Search giant Google spent $1.48 million in the first quarter, up from $1.38 million a year ago, while Microsoft spent $1.72 million in the first quarter of both 2010 and 2011.

Wireless carrier AT&T disclosed that it spent $6.84 million in federal lobbying activities in the March quarter, significantly more than smaller competitor Sprint. AT&T is currently engaged in securing federal approval for a proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA.
post #2 of 20
Maybe Apple ought to slip some extra cash to the SEC to root out any manipulators of their stock. I wonder if there's a reason that Apple doesn't try to match the other companies amount of money in lobbying. Either it's just a waste of money or Apple just doesn't give a damn.
post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has drawn criticism for its participation in lobbying for foreign currency repatriation tax leniency. Grassroots group US Uncut has staged protests at several Apple retail stores, as well as last month's Worldwide Developers Conference. The group calls for Apple to leave the "Win America Campaign" lobbying group and stop calling for tax cuts for repatriating offshore earnings.

Morons. Apple et al won't bring that cash into the US if it's gonna be taxed. So effectively, the group doesn't want large sums of money brought into the US economy.

Tossers!
post #4 of 20
I wonder what cool stuff Apple could do with that money if they didn't have to spend it on lobbying?
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I wonder what cool stuff Apple could do with that money if they didn't have to spend it on lobbying?

Not much. $500k is chump change.

That's not really very much for a company with nearly 50,000 employees.

No company that large would ever in their right mind neglect to lobby government at least a little.
post #6 of 20
I don't know anything about US politics or lobbying process but I consider spending money lobbying for something is akin to bribing even though they (politicians/government bodies) might not be directly profiting from the money spent. I always feel the more money you spent lobbying, the more deep shit the situation (or the people, on both or either sides) are. All said, the money that Apple have spent is relatively quite modest compared to its competitors (and one that I personally feel comfortable with despite what i said earlier).
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

I don't know anything about US politics or lobbying process but I consider spending money lobbying for something is akin to bribing even though they (politicians/government bodies) might not be directly profiting from the money spent. I always feel the more money you spent lobbying, the more deep shit the situation (or the people, on both or either sides) are. All said, the money that Apple have spent is relatively quite modest compared to its competitors (and one that I personally feel comfortable with despite what i said earlier).

Everything you've stated there is about right. It's not lobbying per se that is at issue, but the unlimited resources that highly funded, long-term interests can apply to make themselves loudly heard. At real issue today, is that there aren't any groups of notable size and power that are effectively looking out for the interests of the middle class, and the middle class is getting screwed at every turn.

Apple's $500K probably pays for one or two lobbyists. It's nothing in the grander scheme.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

I don't know anything about US politics or lobbying process but I consider spending money lobbying for something is akin to bribing even though they (politicians/government bodies) might not be directly profiting from the money spent. ...

I doubt that any politician saw a dime of the money, in any form. That probably just pays the salaries of 1 or 2 lobbyists. Besides, slipping politicians bribes through lobbying is so 20th century. These days, the Supreme Court approved method is to give the bribes as campaign donations, or spend the money directly in support of the candidate.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

I don't know anything about US politics or lobbying process but I consider spending money lobbying for something is akin to bribing even though they (politicians/government bodies) might not be directly profiting from the money spent. I always feel the more money you spent lobbying, the more deep shit the situation (or the people, on both or either sides) are. All said, the money that Apple have spent is relatively quite modest compared to its competitors (and one that I personally feel comfortable with despite what i said earlier).

Most people consider it bribery. If anything, in reality, it's more like an extortion payment.

Honestly, government can crush a company if it wanted to. Either via the slow death of regulatory agencies and DoJ investigations or by making up stupid laws.

You have to be stupid not to try and have your interests represented up on Capitol Hill.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffrobinson View Post

Most people consider it bribery.

I don't really agree. Apple's not bribing people for $560,000. A more accurate way to think about it is that lobbying is the same as Public Relations and/or Marketing, but the audience is politicians not customers or journalists.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Hawkeye_ View Post

Morons. Apple et al won't bring that cash into the US if it's gonna be taxed. So effectively, the group doesn't want large sums of money brought into the US economy.

Tossers!


Actually, I have not read their website, but I suspect they want Apple to pay the full tax on that money. Today US companies are not required to pay federal taxes on money made outside the US as only as the money never comes onshore. What Apples is lobbing for is the ability to use the money in the US without paying the normal capital tax. I would imagine that Apple is sitting on Billions in their Cayman Islands Bank. Because it not in US bank it makes it hard for Apple to use that money in the US or even leverage for various complicated business reasons.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Hawkeye_ View Post

Morons. Apple et al won't bring that cash into the US if it's gonna be taxed. So effectively, the group doesn't want large sums of money brought into the US economy.

Tossers!

Agreed. They are all serial scumbags. Apple included. General Electric (one of the worlds richest companies) PAID ZERO corporate tax last year and in fact received a refund from the govt. Screw em all.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

Actually, I have not read their website, but I suspect they want Apple to pay the full tax on that money. Today US companies are not required to pay federal taxes on money made outside the US as only as the money never comes onshore. What Apples is lobbing for is the ability to use the money in the US without paying the normal capital tax. I would imagine that Apple is sitting on Billions in their Cayman Islands Bank. Because it not in US bank it makes it hard for Apple to use that money in the US or even leverage for various complicated business reasons.

And the moral of the story is: be taxed like everyone else or did you miss that? Apple and the rest are no better than the rest.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morky View Post

At real issue today, is that there aren't any groups of notable size and power that are effectively looking out for the interests of the middle class, and the middle class is getting screwed at every turn.

Well then I guess the chickens should stop voting for Colonel Sanders.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

And the moral of the story is: be taxed like everyone else or did you miss that? Apple and the rest are no better than the rest.

I think the contention of the US companies keeping money out of the country is that they have already been taxed (like everyone else) in the countries where they made the money. They don't want to be taxed again by the US for transferring money into US banks.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

And the moral of the story is: be taxed like everyone else or did you miss that? Apple and the rest are no better than the rest.

Apple is considerably better than GE. In fact, the portion of profits that Apple pays in taxes is pretty high compared to similarly sized corporations (of which there are very few).
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sessamoid View Post

Apple is considerably better than GE. In fact, the portion of profits that Apple pays in taxes is pretty high compared to similarly sized corporations (of which there are very few).

Agreed dude, but they are no better as well. They still want to get a tax free gift from bringing back their overseas cash that is supposedly claimed to make jobs. Screw em...
post #18 of 20
Lobbying is a waste of $! Our public servants need to do their jobs to uphold the Constitution and stop unconstitutional acts and spending or we need to vote them out! See:
http://campaignforliberty.org

Also, no corporation really pays taxes, it is ALWAYS passed on as a cost to CONSUMERS! Wake up folks!
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Lobbying is a waste of $! Our public servants need to do their jobs to uphold the Constitution and stop unconstitutional acts and spending or we need to vote them out! See:
http://campaignforliberty.org

Also, no corporation really pays taxes, it is ALWAYS passed on as a cost to CONSUMERS! Wake up folks!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
post #20 of 20
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