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Apple Pumping More Money Into Lobbying

Published on May 24, 2013
by John Paczkowski

houseofcardsApple has never had much of a profile inside the Beltway. It shuttered its big government affairs office in Washington, D.C., in the late ’90s and since that time hasn’t had much of a presence in the nation’s capital.

But now, as it finds itself under increasing scrutiny for its business practices and tax policies, the company is ramping up its Washington lobbying efforts.

In 2012, Apple spent $1,970,000 on lobbying, according to Open Secrets. This year, Reuters reports, it’s on track to spend double that. So, close to $4 million.

That’s not a massive lobbying expenditure; certainly it pales in comparison to those of rivals like Google and Microsoft, which doled out $18 million and $8 million, respectively. But it’s high for Apple, which a decade ago spent a little more than half a million dollars on lobbying. And it reflects a renewed effort to make its voice heard by D.C. policymakers, one that began in early 2011 with the hiring of Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, a formidable lobbying firm with a number of executives who did stints in the Bush administration and the Republican National Committee.

Not at all surprising, given Apple CEO Tim Cook’s calls this week for a “dramatic simplification” of U.S. tax code that should eliminate corporate tax expenditures, lower overall tax rates, and make it easier to repatriate funds from overseas. If Apple truly wants a corporate tax rate in the “mid-20s” and a single-digit repatriation rate, as Cook said, it’s going to have to fight for them in Washington.

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