March 27, 2006 4:00 AM PST
Over the past six years, the technology industry's spending on Washington lobbyists has more than doubled, according to records CNET News.com has reviewed.
Sort through our interactive charts to follow the spending trends of corporate giants ranging from Apple Computer to Vivendi. Highlight and compare the recent salaries of key players, such as Hollywood nonprofit bosses Jack Valenti and Cary Sherman. See which Congress members are getting the royal travel treatment from Microsoft and Walt Disney. And note which pet tech projects are getting federal backing.
Spending on lobbyists and PACs
Technology companies are no longer shy about writing fat checks to lobbyists in Washington. To shed some light on the underbelly of influence peddling, News.com has created a sortable list of dollar figures. Has Google caught up to Microsoft? Has either company caught up to the legendary spending of the telephone giants? See for yourself.
Chart: Federal lobbying expenditures
Soft money was supposedly banned by the McCain-Feingold act, but cash somehow still finds a way into politics. News.com has analyzed how companies are buying influence and access through political-action committees and individual donations. See how such companies as IBM and Apple Computer make up for their official policies against the creation of PACs.
Chart: Political contributions
Tax-exempt tech influence
Jobs at influential nonprofit organizations can pay well--sometimes even better than those at the companies they represent. Find out which D.C. groups grant six-figure salaries to their leaders.
Chart: Nonprofits, trade associations
Travel paid by companies
How do you bend the ear of politicians whose votes you want? Buy them plane tickets to your corporate retreat. Find out which tech companies are inviting Congress members, as well as their aides and families, to private shindigs and corporate outings. Decide for yourself whether they traveled in economy class.
Chart: Travel expenses
How does Congress spend money on technology research, development and education? As with traditional "pork barrel spending," much money gets earmarked for projects of the home districts of politicians who head the right subcommittee. From no-flush toilets to spray paint simulators, local businesses and educational organizations are jockeying for their place at the trough.
Chart: Tech-related pork