How Much Lobbying Is Google Doing?

GOGIf you do an Internet search for “Google lobbying,” you learn a lot.

You see that Google donated $26,000 to Democrat Jerry Brown in his last campaign for governor of California, and that the company has already given $10,000 to Republican Marco Rubio’s 2016 U.S. Senate campaign (yes, that was before Rubio announced his run for president).

Google is now a big spender in Washington — and in state capitals across America. Since President Obama took office, Google has spent over $60 million on lobbying in Washington alone.

But here’s what you don’t find even with the best Google searching: Just how much is the Internet giant giving to various trade organizations and “third party” groups?

Pushing for change: Some Google shareholders say it’s time for Google to truly live by its openness value. They are demanding that the company fully disclose all of its lobbying.

“Our request isn’t far-fetched. Many companies do this,” says Tim Smith of Walden Asset Management, a $3 billion firm that owns Google (GOOGL, Tech30) stock.

Walden filed a formal shareholder resolution to require Google to be fully transparent about its lobbying expenses and objectives. There will be a vote on the proposal at Google’s annual meeting for shareholders on Wednesday.

On its website, Google lists 43 trade associations that it belongs to, such as the Ad Council and National Cyber Security Alliance, although it says that is a “representative listing” and Google doesn’t indicate how much money it gives these organizations. Google also has links to over 100 third-party groups like the AARP, Heritage Foundation and iKeepSafe that it “provides support to.”

At its heart, the debate centers on Google’s ties to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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