The continuing concern regarding the U.S. economy apparently hasn’t affected the monies spent by the communications industry to help ensure their opinions on myriad issues are heard by Congress and federal agencies inside the Beltway.

With the latest numbers now a part of the public record, here’s a short rundown on what was spent by associations, cablecos, telcos, wireless carriers and vendors during the first three months of the year, as reported in mandatory lobbying reporting.

  • Comcast reported $5.7 million in lobbying fees, mostly attributable to its quest for approval of its takeover of NBC Universal.
  • DirecTV racked up $1.28 million during the three-month period, up significantly from the paltry $620,000 it spent on lobbyists during the same time period in 2010. Much of the cash reportedly was spent on retrans-fees talks.
  • The National Association of Broadcasters spent $3.8 million talking up such issues as wireless spectrum auctions and cable/broadcaster relationships, up only slightly from 1Q10.
  • CTIA-The Wireless Association reported $2.84 million in 1Q11 lobbying fees for its constituents, seeking action on such things as lower cellphone-bill taxes. The group spent $2.18 million in 1Q10.
  • Verizon Communications (which includes Verizon Wireless) tallied $4.68 million in fees spent on pushing cybersecurity and spectrum-allocation concerns, among other things.
  • AT&T ratcheted up its spending to $6.84 million in the first quarter, up from $5.93 million during 1Q10. Issues addressed at multiple Washington, D.C., venues included patent reform, wireless-service taxes and healthcare reform.
  • T-Mobile USA, AT&T’s pending acquisition target, was billed $690,000 in the first quarter to lobby the U.S. government on wireless issues like state and local taxes, auctions and data roaming. Lobbying fees were down from the $1.27 million spent in 4Q10.
  • Sprint Nextel, which was thwarted in its predicted T-Mobile purchase effort, laid out just $583,000 in the first quarter, mostly aimed at its continuing effort to block AT&T’s buyout of T-Mobile USA. The carrier also lobbied the feds regarding wireless regulation, privacy mandates, the dangers of texting while driving and first-responder communications.
  • iEverything marketer Apple only allotted $560,000 to make sure its opinions on green and education technology, electronic waste, patent and corporate-tax reforms, and online privacy and safety when it comes to kids were heard in Washington.
  • Cisco Systems spent $830,000 in the first quarter to lobby on cybersecurity, taxes and other issues, up from the $620,000 it spent in 1Q10. As a vendor, Cisco’s concerns include international taxes and tax credits.
  • Lobbyists for Intel billed the company $1 million for talking up its positions on government tech spending, tax code changes and international trade.
  • Hewlett-Packard spent $1.45 million on lobbying in the first three months of 2011, slightly less than it did during the same period in 2010. Concerns included patent issues, U.S. tax code changes and defense spending.
  • Oracle’s lobbying budget didn’t change year over year, with the company spending the same $1.1 million in 1Q11 as it did in 1Q10. Advocates pushed Oracle’s stances in patents, immigration and government spending.

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