Google fans may want to brace for another round of accusations about the company's influence. The Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, which is backed by the U.S. Senate itself, shows that the search giant spent $5.16 million to talk to politicians in 2010.
That's up a significant amount - $1.13 billion or 28 percent - from the $4.03 billion Google spent in 2009. Groups like Consumer Watchdog are sure to object as a result, and even Google's supporters can't argue that the company's lobbying expenses are in step with its growth as a corporation.
Google's lobbying expenses were also far higher than Yahoo's, which only hit $2.23 million in 2010.
On the other hand, we should point out that Microsoft's lobbying expenses outweighed Google's by a considerable amount, as Steve Ballmer's company spent $6.91 billion in all of 2010.
It's not as if Google's trying to conduct too much business in private, either. The company's permanent D.C. office actually opened with a bit of fanfare, and on Friday, Google hosted a panel discussion on privacy there.
We'll be sure to report any significant outbursts on either side of the debate if things progress beyond simple finger-pointing. Hat tip goes to Leena Rao.