Google is a Washington powerhouse that shapes federal law, rewards congressional allies and boasts a new 54,000-square-foot office, just down the road from the U.S. Capitol. But the Internet giant quietly has planted its political roots in places far beyond the Beltway — in state legislatures and city councils that have become hotbeds for tech policy fights.
The company has hired an army of lobbyists from coast to coast as it seeks to protect its self-driving cars, computer-mounted glasses and other emerging technologies from new rules and restrictions, according to an analysis of state records. It’s an aggressive offensive meant to counter local regulators, who increasingly cast a skeptical eye on Silicon Valley and its ambitious visions for the future.
Google this year has retained a quartet of lobbyists in Maryland to remove any roadblocks facing its fleet of driver-free Priuses. It’s tapped consultants in California, Utah, Georgia and other states where the company has tried to deploy its ultrafast #fiber internet. In Illinois and beyond, Google has worked to battle back legislation that might affect Glass, its high-tech spectacles. And the tech giant has cozied up to leaders in New York state and New York City, while camping out in Massachusetts to seek changes in state tax laws.
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