Uber and Twitter have jacked up their spending on political lobbying

Companies continue to pour money into Washington, with Facebook spending a record amount

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The U.S. Capitol building in Washington.

Credit: Matt Wade

Uber and Twitter both significantly expanded their efforts to influence members of Congress through political lobbying in the first three months of the year, new data reveals.

The companies stood out among their peers in the tech industry, who generally reported only a modest increase or reduced spending on lobbying compared to the first quarter last year, according to disclosure statements filed on Wednesday.

Uber almost tripled its spending last quarter, to $320,000 from $110,000 last year, setting a new record for the company. Twitter's spending almost doubled to $170,000, from $90,000 in the first three months of 2015.

The amount companies spend tends to rise and fall depending on the legislative efforts underway that might help or hinder their businesses. The telecommunications industry has been among the biggest lobbyists in recent years, but Internet companies are fast becoming major players too.

Facebook increased its spending by 14 percent from the first quarter last year to $2.8 million, a record for the company. It named immigration reform, government surveillance, Internet advertising and child online protection among the areas in which it lobbied.

The biggest tech spender was AT&T, which pumped $4.5 million into its D.C. lobbying efforts, up 2 percent from last year. Google wasn't far behind at $3.8 million, a drop of 25 percent, and Verizon spent $3.6 million, up 7 percent. Oracle hiked its spend by 39 percent to $2.6 million and Microsoft spent $2 million, up 7 percent.

Apple spent $1.1 million on lobbying during the quarter, down 9 percent, on issues including patents, corporate tax reform, energy efficiency, the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, mobile payments and safe driving.

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