A South Carolina-based law firm disclosed Wednesday that it is lobbying on behalf of Google Inc. in Washington, joining a list of more than a dozen firms that advocate for the Internet giant.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough is one of four law firms listed in congressional records as a representative of Google. Bingham McCutchen, Holland & Knight and Van Ness Feldman, along with 15 non-law firm lobbying shops, are registered with Congress to advocate on behalf of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.
According to congressional records, Nelson Mullins’ Christopher Cushing, Jennifer Pharaoh and Bob Crowe are lobbying for Google on telecommunications, copyright and privacy issues. A spokeswoman for Nelson Mullins declined to comment on work done by the firm for specific clients.
In the first half of 2011, Google spent $3.5 million on lobbying, including $1 million on outside lobbying firms, according to congressional records.
Bingham McCutchen received $30,000 from April 1 to June 30 for lobbying the Senate on competition policy. Google also paid Holland & Knight the same amount during those months for lobbying Congress on competition, privacy and copyright matters. Van Ness Feldman did not report any lobbying activity.
During the first half of 2010, the company spent about $2.7 million on lobbying. Lobbyists from six outside firms reported income from Google during that time.
Van Ness Feldman and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr were the only law firms registered with Congress to lobby for the company at the time. Van Ness Feldman did not report any lobbying activity, but Wilmer Hale received $50,000 from Google between Jan. 1, 2010, and March 31, 2010.
The surge in Google’s lobbying efforts comes as members of Congress are expressing concerns about the company’s privacy policies and online dominance.
In May, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on mobile privacy that included Alan Davidson, Google’s director of public policy for the Americas. In September, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, is slated to hold a hearing on whether Google is threatening competition.
“We want to help policymakers understand our business and the work we do to keep the Internet open, to encourage innovation, and to create economic opportunity,” Google spokeswoman Samantha Smith said in a statement. “Lobbying is a part of that process.”
This post has been corrected to reflect the actual amount of money Google spent on its lobbying during the first halves of 2011 and 2010.