The best government money can buy: lobbying a profitable business

The telecommunications industry--cable, telcos, satellite and their peripheral hangers-on--are keeping Washington, D.C. lobbyists in champagne, caviar and fast-moving limousines with a spending splurge to influence lawmakers on any number of issues, starting with net neutrality and ending with whether Comcast should be allowed to spend $30 billion and change for NBC Universal.

The top three big spenders in the past three months, according to are Verizon ($4.4 million), Comcast ($3.82 million) and AT&T ($3.08 million). While Google has been getting a lot of attention--deservedly--for its efforts, the search engine only comes in sixth place at $1.34 million, following a quietly involved Microsoft ($1.85 million) and HP ($1.6 million). Others on the list include Oracle, Intel, the Entertainment Software Alliance, IBM, Yahoo, Amazon, Cisco (which is just paying for a few congressional lunches at only $500,000), Apple, Dell and, bottom of the list, Facebook, which spent only $60,000.

Facebook's low figure, in fact, was flagged as "surprising ... if you consider the frantic activity on Capitol Hill ... in the past three months," the FastCompany piece said.

Telecom money, at least according to a breakdown of Comcast's spending, is going to lobbying firms generally connected with former elected officials. They're then spreading the wealth as they spread the word of their clients' needs with present elected and appointed officials, at this time mostly with the FCC, although the White House and Congress are also on the target list.

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