Apple taps veteran Senate finance staffer as new top lobbyist

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    A lobbyist? Does this make Apple officially evil?
  • Reply 2 of 28
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Apple is giant, easy target for craven politicians to go after. They may want to put Al Gore to better use.
  • Reply 3 of 28
    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?

  • Reply 4 of 28
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 28
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member

    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.

  • Reply 7 of 28
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,385member
    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. 

  • Reply 8 of 28
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member
    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. :)

  • Reply 9 of 28
    aaronj wrote: »
    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.


    WTF is this comment about?! Are you kidding me.
  • Reply 10 of 28
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member
    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.

  • Reply 11 of 28
    slurpy wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 28
    I realize this is super shallow comment, but it would seem that Apple hires better-looking women than men. :p
  • Reply 13 of 28
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member
    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. image

     

    Yes, it is shallow.

     

    Oh, and I also agree. :)

  • Reply 14 of 28
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,787member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    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!
  • Reply 15 of 28
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,787member
    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
  • Reply 16 of 28
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,114member
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 28
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    kibitzer wrote: »
    Therefore, you're saying that the purpose of a lobbyist is to bribe public officials?

    Obviously.
  • Reply 18 of 28
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,114member
    Obviously.
    You and Macky and Archie Bunker have been spending too much time together sharing your wisdom down at the corner bar. :wow:
  • Reply 19 of 28
    oneaburnsoneaburns Posts: 354member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    oneaburnsoneaburns Posts: 354member
    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 ;)
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