Apple Bumps Up Capitol Hill Lobbying Expenses (April 27, 2015)
Apple Inc. is spending more time on Capitol Hill meeting with lawmakers on topics that include mobile payments, new lobbying expense data suggest. During the first three months of this year, Apple’s expenses for lobbying rose 16 percent compared with the same period a year ago, and this year the Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s efforts have focused on topics that included “issues related to mobile payments,” according to a lobbying report made public today.
Apple spent a total of $1.24 million on lobbying during the first quarter of this year, compared with $1.07 million during the same period a year earlier, according to a report the U.S. government requires all organizations to file. At a Silicon Valley press conference in February to discuss government and industry cybersecurity efforts, Pres. Obama announced that Apple Pay will become available for users of MasterCard-branded Direct Express cards issued by Comerica Bank and cards that are part of the GSA SmartPay programs issued by U.S. Bank.
At its present rate, Apple is on track to spend $5 million on lobbying in Washington, up more than 20 percent from last year’s total lobbying expenditures of $4.1 million. That’s far less than other tech companies’ spending in Washington—in 2014 Google spent $16.8 million on lobbying and Microsoft’s lobbying expenses reached $8.3 million—but it’s more than Apple’s lobbying activity in previous years, and it represents a shift in the company’s approach. Apple Founder Steve Jobs reportedly steered clear of Washington, D.C., but Apple’s current chief, Tim Cook, is more active with lawmakers. He reportedly trekked to the Capitol in December. Altogether Apple executives’ meetings in Washington, D.C. last year spanned the White House, Congress, and 13 departments and agencies, according to logs.
The White House in recent months has taken a bold stand on the need for the payments industry to step up security, in the wake of rising data breaches. President Obama on Oct. 17, 2014, signed an executive order calling for all government agencies to adopt chip-and-PIN technology to enhance security. Prior to participating in the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University on February 13, Obama in January unveiled new legislation to further protect consumers when data is compromised, introducing the Personal Data Notification & Protection Act, to create a national standard for disclosing breaches.
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