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Apple taps veteran Senate finance staffer as new top lobbyist

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
A report on Monday claims Apple has hired former Senate staffer Amber Cottle, who served as staff director on one of the most influential committees on Capitol Hill, to be its new lobbyist in Washington, D.C.

Cottle
Amber Cottle. | Source: Forbes


According to Politico, Apple recently hired Cottle to handle government affairs in Washington as the company looks to grow its influence amid an increasingly volatile customer privacy landscape.

Prior to Apple, Cottle worked as a Senate Finance Committee staffer for five years. She was named Democratic Staff Director by Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in 2012, moving up from a previous post as the committee's Chief International Trade Counsel.

Cottle will take over for Apple's former top lobbyist Catherine Novelli, who in September 2013 left the company after being nominated to a post at the State Department.

Historically, Apple is not particularly well known for its lobbying activities, though the company has been more active in Washington after becoming the world's largest tech company. One of the main reasons for Apple's recent interest in politicking is the company's unique tax strategy, which has been framed by the U.S. Congress as being exploitative.

Apple is reported to have spent some $3.3 million in lobbying efforts in 2013, which is a significant boost from 2012's roughly $2 million. In comparison, other large tech companies allot much more capital to lobbying expenditures, with Microsoft and Google logging a respective $8 million and $16.5 million for 2012, according to Reuters.
post #2 of 29
A lobbyist? Does this make Apple officially evil?

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post #3 of 29
Apple is giant, easy target for craven politicians to go after. They may want to put Al Gore to better use.

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post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

They may want to put Al Gore to better use.

 

How do you know if he of any use even?

post #5 of 29
One of the things that I love about Apple as a company is its consistent integrity and transparency. As campaign finance/corruption is likely the most destructive political force in the US, it would be great if Apple took the lead in improving transparency and awareness by producing a detailed report of their lobbying efforts and spending, a la the supplier responsibility report they always post at the beginning of the year. That said, the most frustrating thing about being an Apple fan is watching it unfairly dragged through the mud by deliberate propaganda efforts, so I'm not sure if it'd be worth the risk. However, it would also give Apple the opportunity to show that it's not the ominous 'evil corporation' that people assume it must be because of its size. Its spending to market cap ratio must be tiny compared to so many others. I'm not sure what the answer is, just thinking out loud here.

   

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post #6 of 29
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Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

A lobbyist? Does this make Apple officially evil?

I hate the idea of corporations lobbying but looking at what happened with iBookstore it does seem they need to invest more heavily in this area. My objection isn't the cost as even the highest corporate expenditures for lobbying is a pittance but that it gives an unfair advantage.

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post #7 of 29

One woman leaves Apple to go to DC, and her replacement comes from DC to Apple. :)

 

There's really no point whatsoever in trying to fight the tides, though.  They're coming in or going out regardless.

post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

A lobbyist? Does this make Apple officially evil?

 

When every other major technology company vastly outspends Apple in lobbyists, unfortunately Apple has no choice. Ideally, they wouldn't need any. But in this situation, NOT having lobbyists (or enough lobbyists) would be negligent and stupid. Obviously Apple is not crazy about the idea, looking at how much money they have and how much they spend on them, but clearly they see that they need to get in the game. Otherwise, Amazon and Google wil continue getting preferred treatment and unfair advantages. 

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post
 

 

When every other major technology company vastly outspends Apple in lobbyists, unfortunately Apple has no choice. Ideally, they wouldn't need any. But in this situation, NOT having lobbyists (or enough lobbyists) would be negligent and stupid. Obviously Apple is not crazy about the idea, looking at how much money they have and how much they spend on them, but clearly they see that they need to get in the game. Otherwise, Amazon and Google wil continue getting preferred treatment and unfair advantages. 

 

Yeah, Apple's spending only about 1/5th of what Google spends, for instance.

 

Then again, Google has a lot more issues to deal with. :)

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post

One woman leaves Apple to go to DC, and her replacement comes from DC to Apple. 1smile.gif

There's really no point whatsoever in trying to fight the tides, though.  They're coming in or going out regardless.


WTF is this comment about?! Are you kidding me.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by izaiahmazin View Post


WTF is this comment about?! Are you kidding me.

 

Not kidding at all.  Most top lobbyists in DC have worked in various positions in the government at one time or another.  And most lobbyists when they leave lobbying return to the government, or to some sort of the DC power structure.  It's a rotating door.

 

This is just the way it is.  It's like me complaining that it's cold:  Sure, it really is colder than it ought to be right now.  But my complaining about it doesn't change anything.  It's simply  a fact, and there's absolutely nothing anyone can do about it.  It's far better to put effort into the things one CAN change(e.g., there's a decent chance that we can get comprehensive immigration reform done in the next 5-10 years -- that's something worth trying to do).  Whining about things that will never change is just wasted energy and wasted time.

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

When every other major technology company vastly outspends Apple in lobbyists, unfortunately Apple has no choice. Ideally, they wouldn't need any. But in this situation, NOT having lobbyists (or enough lobbyists) would be negligent and stupid. Obviously Apple is not crazy about the idea, looking at how much money they have and how much they spend on them, but clearly they see that they need to get in the game. Otherwise, Amazon and Google wil continue getting preferred treatment and unfair advantages. 

Without a lobbyist a company don't know the prices of the various congressmen/women. I understand Southern Congressmen can be had for a pittance compared to a New England congressman...but are they any good? A lobbyist knows where the bargains can be found and who to buy that won't go bad on you in three days or less. This is the year they all put themselves out to be bought, so Apple needs a good lobbyist this year most of all to sort the goats from the sheep.
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post #13 of 29
I realize this is super shallow comment, but it would seem that Apple hires better-looking women than men. 1tongue.gif
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I realize this is super shallow comment, but it would seem that Apple hires better-looking women than men. 1tongue.gif

 

Yes, it is shallow.

 

Oh, and I also agree. :)

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I hate the idea of corporations lobbying but looking at what happened with iBookstore it does seem they need to invest more heavily in this area. My objection isn't the cost as even the highest corporate expenditures for lobbying is a pittance but that it gives an unfair advantage.

Yes, Apple need to have some presence in this terrible game, as a defense mechanism and for truthful information dissemination. The latter would probably be a first!
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post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by helicopterben View Post

How do you know if he of any use even?

Ask Marc Andreessen his opinion on Al. It's worth reading up on the history of High Performance Computing Act of 1991. It would help dispel all the utter drivel so many folks, ignorant of the industry history, have come to be brainwashed to believe by equally ignorant media outlets. Given this depth of involvement in what after all, even Microsoft utterly and totally missed as salient to the computing industry, he is a pretty important person in this field. Let's not forget Apple has gone on to be the most successful company on earth in mobile and without the HPCA things might have been different, not only for Apple but America.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Performance_Computing_Act_of_1991
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post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Without a lobbyist a company don't know the prices of the various congressmen/women. I understand Southern Congressmen can be had for a pittance compared to a New England congressman...but are they any good? A lobbyist knows where the bargains can be found and who to buy that won't go bad on you in three days or less. This is the year they all put themselves out to be bought, so Apple needs a good lobbyist this year most of all to sort the goats from the sheep.
Therefore, you're saying that the purpose of a lobbyist is to bribe public officials?

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post #18 of 29
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Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

Therefore, you're saying that the purpose of a lobbyist is to bribe public officials?

Obviously.

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post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Obviously.
You and Macky and Archie Bunker have been spending too much time together sharing your wisdom down at the corner bar. 1eek.gif

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post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatchyThePirate View Post

One of the things that I love about Apple as a company is its consistent integrity and transparency. As campaign finance/corruption is likely the most destructive political force in the US, it would be great if Apple took the lead in improving transparency and awareness by producing a detailed report of their lobbying efforts and spending, a la the supplier responsibility report they always post at the beginning of the year. That said, the most frustrating thing about being an Apple fan is watching it unfairly dragged through the mud by deliberate propaganda efforts, so I'm not sure if it'd be worth the risk. However, it would also give Apple the opportunity to show that it's not the ominous 'evil corporation' that people assume it must be because of its size. Its spending to market cap ratio must be tiny compared to so many others. I'm not sure what the answer is, just thinking out loud here.

That type of transparency would be nice. And while I don't fault Apple at all for lobbying, I do fault out government for allowing it to happen. I mean, deduct this woman's salary and travel expenses and you're still left with at least $2 million dollars. Where does that go? It ain't for taking politicians out to dinner. It's goes in te politicians pockets. I'm bit sure how they do it but it's shameful that it's allowed to take place. So much for a government "of the people, for the people and by the people." End of rant.

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post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Ask Marc Andreessen his opinion on Al. It's worth reading up on the history of High Performance Computing Act of 1991. It would help dispel all the utter drivel so many folks, ignorant of the industry history, have come to be brainwashed to believe by equally ignorant media outlets. Given this depth of involvement in what after all, even Microsoft utterly and totally missed as salient to the computing industry, he is a pretty important person in this field. Let's not forget Apple has gone on to be the most successful company on earth in mobile and without the HPCA things might have been different, not only for Apple but America.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Performance_Computing_Act_of_1991

It's impressive but not as impressive as Al's discovery and continued fight against Manbearpig. I'm cereal guys 1wink.gif

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post #22 of 29

See, Apple do hire women if they are the best fit for the job.

 

Just waiting for other minority groups to complain that she wasn't a black lesbian wheelchair user.

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by oneaburns View Post

That type of transparency would be nice. And while I don't fault Apple at all for lobbying, I do fault out government for allowing it to happen. I mean, deduct this woman's salary and travel expenses and you're still left with at least $2 million dollars. Where does that go? It ain't for taking politicians out to dinner. It's goes in te politicians pockets. I'm bit sure how they do it but it's shameful that it's allowed to take place. So much for a government "of the people, for the people and by the people." End of rant.

Money talks. This has been the way things work since money was created.

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post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by oneaburns View Post

That type of transparency would be nice. And while I don't fault Apple at all for lobbying, I do fault out government for allowing it to happen. I mean, deduct this woman's salary and travel expenses and you're still left with at least $2 million dollars. Where does that go? It ain't for taking politicians out to dinner. It's goes in te politicians pockets. I'm bit sure how they do it but it's shameful that it's allowed to take place. So much for a government "of the people, for the people and by the people." End of rant.

 

If Apple is reporting $3 million a year in "lobbying" I can assure you that that money isn't going into politicians' pockets.  (The naive part of me says that's because Apple doesn't bribe politicians, while the cynical side says "if they do they wouldn't report that money anywhere.")  $2-$3 million a year is nothing, especially in DC.  Just to have a small staff in a nice DC office and some lawyers on retainer easily accounts for most of that.

post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

If Apple is reporting $3 million a year in "lobbying" I can assure you that that money isn't going into politicians' pockets.  (The naive part of me says that's because Apple doesn't bribe politicians, while the cynical side says "if they do they wouldn't report that money anywhere.")  $2-$3 million a year is nothing, especially in DC.  Just to have a small staff in a nice DC office and some lawyers on retainer easily accounts for most of that.

To me a bribe can be a nice dinner, some swag, or a swanky getaway where you aren't technically putting cash in anyone's pockets.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #26 of 29

Forced to rut in the mud, if that’s what modern politics takes, Apple’s got the coin to do it. Sad, though.

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post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post
 

 

When every other major technology company vastly outspends Apple in lobbyists, unfortunately Apple has no choice. Ideally, they wouldn't need any. But in this situation, NOT having lobbyists (or enough lobbyists) would be negligent and stupid. Obviously Apple is not crazy about the idea, looking at how much money they have and how much they spend on them, but clearly they see that they need to get in the game. Otherwise, Amazon and Google wil continue getting preferred treatment and unfair advantages. 

Yeah; it's sad that Apple is having to resort to keeping their friends close and their enemies closer.

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post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I realize this is super shallow comment, but it would seem that Apple hires better-looking women than men. 1tongue.gif

As a married man, I wouldn't know...

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post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post
 

See, Apple do hire women if they are the best fit for the job.

 

Just waiting for other minority groups to complain that she wasn't a black lesbian wheelchair user.

Even if she were, it would invoke complaints from the transsexual, peanut-eating ginger community.

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