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Federal lobbying disclosures filed this week revealed the extent to which Apple has beefed up lobbying operations in recent years, as the $1.2 million the company spent in the fourth quarter of last year pushed its full-year total over $4 million for the first time ever.
That figure represents an 18 percent year-over-year increase from the $3.4 million Apple spent in 2013, itself a record expenditure. Apple did not cross the $1 million threshold until 2006, and continues to spend relatively little on lobbying compared to its position as the largest company in the world by market capitalization.
Second-place Exxon Mobil, for instance, spent more than $12.5 million over the same period.
As noted previously, Apple focuses its lobbying efforts primarily on issues directly related to its product lineup. Consumer health data, safe driving, e-books and data privacy are among the areas that received attention from either Apple's in-house lobbying team or its 23 contract lobbyists.
The company's leadership has also taken a more active role, frequently traveling to Washington to meet with key decision makers. Most recently, company chief Tim Cook met with Utah Sen. Orinn Hatch in December.