scorecard
  1. Home
  2. tech
  3. news
  4. Tesla, Amazon, Microsoft, and other tech giants are spending millions in DC. Here's who is spending the most.

Tesla, Amazon, Microsoft, and other tech giants are spending millions in DC. Here's who is spending the most.

Madison Hall   

Tesla, Amazon, Microsoft, and other tech giants are spending millions in DC. Here's who is spending the most.
SpaceX, X, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives for a US Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence Insight Forum at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2023.STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images
  • The nation's biggest tech companies have spent more than $25 million lobbying Congress in Q1.
  • Many of the tech giants have pivoted to developing AI tools in the past year.

The nation's largest tech companies spent more than $28 million on lobbying services in the first quarter of 2024.

Federal lobbying firms — advocates paid to try to influence legislators on Capitol Hill — were required to disclose their first-quarter earnings from companies on April 22, showing the groups they partnered with and some of the services they were lobbying for.

Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta, and other industry leaders have spent billions in the past year alone developing AI tools and large language models, with each company trying to one-up the other. That is abundantly clear in federal lobbying disclosures, which reveal the companies have spent nearly $5 million more this quarter compared to Q1 in 2023, when they spent just under $23.6 million.

These companies also spend big bucks trying to persuade legislators to join their causes as they struggle to regulate the ever-changing technology industry.

Meta

Meta
Meta has been hard at work this year developing its open-source large language model, Llama.      SOPA Images/Getty Images

After its Metaverse project cost Meta $16 billion in 2023 alone, leading the massive company to shutter some of its offices and lay off thousands of employees, the company's big focus in 2024 has been on its new open-source large language model, Llama.

Meta's spent the most on lobbying compared to its competitors, amounting to $8.5 million. The bulk of that — $7.64 million — went to Meta's in-house team of lobbyists, with the remaining $886,250 split up between 19 firms.

Amazon

Amazon
Amazon spent $5.85 million lobbying Congress in Q1 of 2024.      Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

In the first three months of 2024 alone, Amazon paid 29 different lobbying firms $5.85 million to lobby on behalf of its web services product, online pharmacy, and other company interests.

Amazon reported spending $4.35 million on its in-house lobbying team, which has more than 10 members, and about $1.24 million on the other 28 firms hired by the tech giant.

Alphabet/Google

Alphabet/Google
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google's search engine still brings in the bulk of the company's profit.      Alain Jocard/Getty Images

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, reported $23.7 billion in profit in their Q1 quarterly earnings, exceeding Wall Street's expectations.

CEO Sundar Pichai said in an earnings call that much of Google's profit came from its search engine, but its foray into generative AI with its Gemini model has also been lucrative.

Alphabet reported spending $3.7 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2024, $3 million of which remained with their in-house team. The remaining $700,000 was divvied up between 18 outside lobbying firms.

ByteDance/TikTok

ByteDance/TikTok
TikTok on App Store displayed on a phone screen is seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on April 8, 2024.      NurPhoto/Getty Images

ByteDance — the parent company of the massively popular social media app TikTok — reported spending $2.8 million lobbying in Q1 of 2024 alone, while TikTok itself also reported spending $440,000 on similar services. The two combined to spend about $3.2 million.

Congress introduced and passed a law earlier in 2024 that's set to ban TikTok from US app stores if ByteDance doesn't divest, despite TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew personally traveling to Washington, DC, to lobby against it.

Microsoft

Microsoft
Microsoft partnered with OpenAI in 2019.      Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Microsoft bet big on OpenAI in July 2019, investing $1 billion "to build secure, trustworthy and ethical AI to serve the public." Since then, Microsoft has reportedly invested $13 billion into the startup.

The investment has been a success for the company, helping it become a leader in the AI space.

Microsoft is reportedly working on its own large language model, MAI-1, to rival Google and OpenAI, though a timeline for its release is uncertain.

The company has spent $3.2 million in 2024 lobbying the halls of the Capitol, about $2.8 million of which went to its own team of lobbyists.

Apple

Apple
Apple CEO Tim Cook walks outside after a trip to the US Capitol in 2023.      The Washington Post/Getty Images

Apple has yet to formally announce its foray into building large language models or publicly available AI tools, but CEO Tim Cook teased in a recent earnings call that the company would make a big announcement regarding AI in "coming weeks."

The Wall Street Journal reported May 6 that the company was in the process of developing computer chips built specifically for AI software.

In the first three months of 2024, Apple spent $2.88 million on federal lobbyists, with $2.1 million going to its own lobbying team. The rest of Apple's lobbying investment was divided between eight other firms.

OpenAI

OpenAI
Sam Altman will be keen to avoid Facebook's election mistakes.      Kent Nishimura

After a meteoric rise in 2023, OpenAI has spent $530,000 lobbying on Capitol Hill. The bulk of OpenAI's reported lobbying spending — $340,000 — was to its in-house team.

OpenAI also reported paying $80,000 to the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, $90,000 to global firm DLA Piper, and $20,000 to Hogan Lovells, which specializes in "corporate, finance, litigation, regulatory and IP law."

Tesla

Tesla
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been outspoken about government subsidies.      VCG/Getty

Tesla reported spending $390,000 in Q1 in 2024. Seventy-one percent of that, or $280,000, went toward Tesla's personal lobbying team. The electric vehicle manufacturer also spent $80,000 on lobbying services from Cassidy & Associates and $30,000 from Pioneer Public Affairs.

CEO Elon Musk has notably been a staunch opponent of government subsidies in recent years despite Tesla and its subsidiaries getting $2,829,855,494 in federal and state loans since 2007.

X/Twitter

X/Twitter
X has spent just under a quarter million lobbying the Senate in 2024.      Anadolu via Getty Images

The Musk-owned X has spent $240,000 so far in 2024 on lobbying, with the vast majority —$170,000 — going to its in-house lobbying team. The remaining $70,000 was split between The Joseph Group and TwinLogic Strategies.

Musk notably invested resources in the past year in developing Grok, an AI-based chatbot he wants to use to summarize news on X that's had mixed success.

Nvidia

Nvidia
Nvidia's spent $160,000 on federal lobbying in 2024.      Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images (Left), Walid Berrazeg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images (Right)

Nvidia, a company known for its GPU and computer chip manufacturing, has benefited enormously from the rapid growth of AI because its chips have become a "de facto industry standard" for developing AI models.

The company reported spending the least on lobbying of any major tech company on this list, $160,000, which was split evenly between The Nickles Group and Tiber Creek Group.


Popular Right Now




Advertisement