Tech Giants Amass a Lobbying Army for an Epic Washington Battle

Google is paying two contract lobbyists who worked as lawyers on the Republican staff of the House Judiciary Committee. One of the lawyers, Sean McLaughlin, also served as a deputy assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.

“Having conducted congressional investigations from the inside, Sean is able to counsel clients on how to respond to them from the outside,” reads Mr. McLaughlin’s biography on the website of his firm, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, which was paid $50,000 by Google to lobby Congress during the first three months of the year, according to lobbying records.

The Washington office of Amazon, whose chief executive, Jeff Bezos, has drawn regular criticism from Mr. Trump, is led by a former Federal Trade Commission official, Brian Huseman. And its roster of outside lobbyists includes three Democratic former members of Congress — Norm Dicks of Washington, Vic Fazio of California and Kendrick B. Meek of Florida — as well as two former Justice Department lawyers.

One of them, Seth Bloom, was a trial lawyer in the department’s antitrust division in the late 1990s before going on to work on antitrust issues for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Democratic staff. He went on to lobby for Amazon, including in connection with its purchase in 2017 of the grocery chain Whole Foods, which required a review of competition concerns by the Federal Trade Commission. Amazon paid $30,000 to Mr. Bloom’s firm to lobby Congress on issues “related to competition in technology industries” during the first three months of the year.

In that span, Amazon also paid $70,000 to the lobbying firm of a top Trump fund-raiser, Brian Ballard, to lobby Congress and the administration. Top-tier lobbyists in Washington can make millions of dollars a year.

One of the lobbyists on the account for Mr. Ballard’s firm, Daniel F. McFaul, worked on Mr. Trump’s presidential transition team and then briefly as chief of staff for Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida. Mr. Gaetz is a member of a House Judiciary subcommittee that is planning a set of hearings, testimony from executives of top companies and subpoenas for internal corporate documents.

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