By Fredreka Schouten and Alan Gomez, USA Today, April 29, 2013
WASHINGTON – Seven technology companies and a software association – all with interests in shaping the immigration debate now underway in Congress -- each spent more than $1 million on their federal lobbying efforts during the first three months of this year, new reports shows.
Their spending, totaling $13.8 million, swamps the $80,000 one longtime immigration advocate, the National Council of La Raza, spent on lobbying during the same time period. The spending is one part of the tech industry's new advocacy push to shape a leading Senate proposal that would dramatically expand the temporary visas and green cards given to foreign workers in the technology field.
Among the biggest increases: lobbying by Facebook, which soared to $2.45 million, up from $650,000 during the same period last year and $1.4 million during the last three months of 2012.
In a separate move from his company's official lobbying activity, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has assembled some of the Silicon Valley's wealthiest figures, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Google chairman Eric Schmidt, to underwrite FWD.us, a non-profit group aimed at building public and congressional support for a large-scale rewrite of U.S. immigration policy.
To advance the cause, the Zuckerberg group also has launched two subsidiaries with vague, patriotic-sounding names -- Americans for a Conservative Direction and the Council for American Job Growth, designed to appeal to conservative and liberal and independent voters, respectively [.....]