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Tech Giants Throw More Money Than Ever at Washington Lobbyists New figures suggest that lobby spending by tech leaders like Google and Facebook amounted to a massive $61 million in 2013.

By Geoff Weiss

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Tech giants like Google and Facebook are meddling more and more in the political sphere as a new report indicates that lobby expenditures by the sector have reached an all-time high.

With their sights aimed squarely at Washington's power set, firms poured a combined $61.2 million into lobby spending in 2013 -- up 16 percent over 2012.

Though that may sound like a hefty sum, investment in lobbying can pay off in invaluable ways. For instance, by cozying up to the Obama administration and regulators during a two-year federal antitrust probe, Google emerged practically unscathed.

Another provocative issue in 2013 upon which lobby funds were focused was high-skilled work visas. Despite $14.7 million in campaign donations, congress ultimately killed the STEM Jobs Act, which sought to transfer the 55,000 visas reserved for underrepresented countries to high-skilled immigrants with graduate degrees from American universities.

AT&T led the pack last year with roughly $16 million in lobby spending, trailed by Google ($14.1 million), Verizon ($13.4 million) and IBM ($7.1 million). Additionally, Facebook has notably ramped up its presence in Washington over the past two years, with expenditures rocketing to 61 percent in 2013 for a total of $6.4 million.

Related: A Look Inside Washington D.C.'s Startup Scene

Geoff Weiss

Former Staff Writer

Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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