Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta has earned at least $1 million to lobby the White House on behalf of Huawei, a Chinese technology and telecommunications company blacklisted under the Trump administration.
Podesta, brother of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman John Podesta, received $500,000 from Huawei to lobby the Executive Office of the President between October and December of 2021, according to lobbying disclosures filed late Thursday. Huawei first hired Podesta in July 2021 and paid the long-time Democrat operative $500,000 to lobby the White House from July to September 2021.
Podesta lobbied on “issues related to telecommunication services and impacted trade issues,” according to disclosure forms.
Amazon and Facebook parent company Meta spent more money in 2021 lobbying lawmakers and officials than any year before, according to lobbying disclosure filings.
Amazon spent $20.3 million on lobbying while Meta spent $20.1 million in 2021, according to a review of lobbying disclosure filings by MarketWatch. The figures are record totals for both tech companies, who spent $18.9 million and $19.7 million on lobbying in 2020, respectively.
Google’s lobbying spend for 2021 clocked in at $11.5 million, while Microsoft spent $10.3 million and Apple spent $6.5 million, according to MarketWatch’s review.
A Pennsylvania government watchdog group is highlighting how the incestuous relationship between local government entities and lobbyists is costing taxpayers millions of dollars. The Commonwealth Foundation also is supporting legislation designed to put an end to the practice.
The Commonwealth Foundation issued a report Monday that reveals Pennsylvania taxpayers paid at least $42 million in lobbying expenses between 2007 and 2020 to advocate for more government spending, though the actual cost is likely substantially more.
The foundation sent public information requests to 1,518 government entities to collect data on taxpayer-funded lobbying, which involves boroughs, cities, counties, school districts and state agencies that hire lobbyists or pay dues to associations to lobby other areas of government.
Facebook lobbyists are struggling to meet with lawmakers, Politico reported, as the tech giant faces congressional scrutiny and negative press surrounding its business practices.
Several lawmakers’ offices are ignoring Facebook’s policy team and even refusing to meet with lobbyists, Politico reported. Several congressional aides told the outlet that recent news reports on Facebook’s business practices, including its knowledge of how its platform affects teen users and its amplification of “misinformation,” have contributed to lawmakers’ hostile attitudes.
“Mark Zuckerberg has done more to polarize the country probably than anyone else and yet despite that, the antipathy towards him is one of the most bipartisan things that remains in the country,” a Democratic House staffer told Politico.