You can Google anything right?
Well, try going to the search engine and entering “Google’s political spending.”
You’ll get something like this:
Ironically, the top result is Google’s “transparency policy.”
As you can see, while we get a few results for the company’s direct lobbying activities (which it is required by law to disclose), there’s little else to indicate what Google is doing with its other political dollars.
To make things clearer, I should explain that companies can spend money on politics in a few ways.
First, they can spend directly on lobbying themselves. They can also make direct political expenditures to back candidates or contribute to federally registered political committees. And in some states, they can contribute directly to candidates. This spending generally has to be disclosed.
But they can also spend money that doesn’t have to be disclosed. This spending can vary, but is most commonly done when a company makes contributions to “social welfare” organizations like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS or to “trade associations” like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Neither the organizations nor the companies have to disclose these types of contributions, and the organizations can spend money on a wide range of political activities.