Facebook Inc. is expanding its footprint in Washington's lobbying world, hiring the Republican firm Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock to advocate for the company on an array of issues.
The company’s lobbying registration was filed Tuesday and was effective Feb. 1, according to the registration papers. The registration covers “legislative and policy issues related to technology and internet policy, including personal privacy, protecting children, and advancing online security.”
Facebook first registered to lobby in June 2009. It has done all its work in-house and has two registered lobbyists. For calendar 2010, the company reported $351,000 in spending. It had an uptick in the fourth quarter, when it spent $130,000.
“This step represents a continuation of our work to explain the important actions we take to protect people who use our service and promote the value of innovation to our economy,” Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes wrote in an e-mail.
The step is relatively small. By comparison, Google was actively registered with five outside lobbying shops, including giants Dutko Worldwide and the Podesta Group, in the fourth quarter of last year. It reported paying them $430,000 and spending $1.2 million in-house in the fourth quarter.
Fierce, Isakowitz is known as an all-Republican lobbying shop, so it’s in a position potentially to help Facebook with the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives. In March 2008, while Democrats were ascendant, Legal Times reported that the firm was bucking a trend of Republican lobbying shops becoming bipartisan. The firm’s president, Mark Isakowitz, described the firm as “part of the Republican extended family.”
Listed on the registration are three people from the firm: Isakowitz, Kirk Blalock and Kirsten Chadwick. No one from the firm was immediately available to comment.
Fierce, Isakowitz was ranked No. 48 on The National Law Journal’s most-recent Influence 50 list of highest-grossing lobbying firms in Washington. Its other clients include Apple Inc., BP America, Medco Health Solutions Inc. and the Business Roundtable.
Update (12:30 p.m.): The Los Angeles Times reports on some of the challenges facing Facebook in Washington.