Lobbying data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics does a nice job of reminding us just how expensive the technology-policy wars currently playing out in Washington can get.
Of the top 20 spenders in the first half of 2010, four are connected with the cable and telecom industries. Topping that list was Verizon Communications (No. 10 overall), which has spent $9.19 million so far this year.
At No. 12 was AT&T, which ran up a $9.05 million tab, followed by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the chief lobby of the cable industry, which spent $7.85 million, landing at No. 17 on the list. At No. 20 was Comcast, which has spent $6.9 million to date.
Each of those entities has been active at the Federal Communications Commission, which has been at the center of a lively debate over what, if any, rules should be applied to how broadband providers manage their networks. Comcast, in addition to the broadband battles, is also trying to win approval of its bid to take a controlling stake in NBC/Universal.
By comparison, the leading spender in the Computers/Internet category was Microsoft, which spread around $3.57 million in the first half of this year to promote its policy interests. HP checked in at a close No. 2, with a tab of $3.42 million.
At No. 3 was Google, which shelled out $2.72 million, followed by IBM ($2.54 million) and Oracle ($2.39 million).