article-aa

Amazon paid government relations professionals US$12.4 million over the first nine months of 2019—a 16 per cent increase compared to the same period last year—followed closely by Facebook, at US$12.3 million (up almost 25 per cent). Google has spent US$9.8 million, Microsoft US$7.8 million and Apple US$5.5 million. Amazon, Facebook and Apple are all on track for record years of spending on lobbying. (Wall Street Journal)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: The push comes as the U.S. Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the House Judiciary Committee are investigating Big Tech. But the companies are also increasing their government contacts as they bid for lucrative federal contracts. On Friday, the Pentagon picked Microsoft over Amazon for a decade-long deal worth up to US$10 billion to build a military cloud-computing system. The companies have also significantly upped their presence in Ottawa under the Liberals, with a major focus on government procurement. About a fifth of tech giants’ communications with officials over the last four years were on the subject, as the federal government increased its use of technology to deliver services to citizens.

article-aa

Kevin Burns has stepped down in favour of K.C. Crosthwaite, who was chief growth officer at Altria, the tobacco giant that is one of the company’s major investors. Altria and Philip Morris ended talks of a US$187-billion merger. Juul also said it will stop advertising its products on television, in print and digitally, and will not lobby the U.S. government on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s upcoming vaping regulations. “Juul Labs is a global company and this announcement impacts the U.S. only,” StrategyCorp’s Jeff Lang-Weir told The Logic on behalf of Juul Canada. (The Logic)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: The three companies’ decisions reflect the challenges facing vape firms in the U.S., where the Trump administration is planning to ban all flavoured products. Juul is facing multiple investigations, including by the Federal Trade Commission, the FDA and criminal prosecutors. Altria is hedging its bet on Juul by proceeding with the launch of an FDA-approved heated tobacco device in partnership with Philip Morris. Health Canada has not announced any new investigations or policies in response to the U.S. government actions. The agency is currently considering new regulations to restrict vape advertising on social media and at the checkout in stores, as well as banning more flavours. Juul is also not changing its Canadian plans—it will continue to lobby and advertise in Canada.

article-aa

Eight publishing executives, including those from the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and News Corp, are meeting with senators and other lawmakers on Tuesday. (Axios)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: The lobbying push comes as U.S. politicians float solutions to the hollowing-out and shuttering of newsrooms struggling to compete with Facebook and Google for ad dollars. Proposed legislation in the House and the Senate, for example, would give media companies an “antitrust exemption,” allowing them to withhold content from digital platforms and force the tech giants to negotiate terms for using their work. The U.S. executives’ move echoes demands for legislative change in Canada’s media landscape. Last week, The Logic reported that executives from the CBC, The Globe and Mail, Quebecor, Le Devoir and Magazines Canada are asking the federal government for new laws to make Facebook and Google pay more taxes in the country, help pay for the creation of their content and make it more visible on their platforms.

article-aa

Chris Froggatt and Kory Teneycke lead firms that have each signed up over two dozen influential clients since the Progressive Conservatives took power in Ontario. Froggart’s firm Loyalist Public Affairs represents Canopy Growth, Sidewalk Labs and Pfizer. Teneycke’s Rubicon Strategy has Loblaw, IBM and the Ontario Medical Association. A spokesperson for Doug Ford said the premier is not aware of any breach of ethics rules by the two men, and would not allow them if he was. (Globe and Mail)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: The two men have direct access to the premier, and are trusted with everything from negotiating with MPs concerned with Ford’s actions to dealing with the fallout from issues like cuts to public health spending. Froggatt and Teneycke both say they provide political advice and never discuss client matters. However, their respective companies are taking away clients from other lobbying firms—which can charge monthly retainers of up to $20,000. The relative prominence of the two men has only grown in recent weeks following the departure of Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French. The three men called themselves a “three-legged stool” during the provincial election campaign.

article-aa

This is the first time the firm has used its own registered lobbyists; it had previously hired third parties. The company has built a 13-person team in the U.S. capital. Among other issues, SoftBank lobbied on autonomous vehicles, fintech, artificial intelligence, privacy and data, as well as the merger of its wireless carrier Sprint with T-Mobile. (The Information)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: SoftBank’s lobbying is minor compared to Facebook and Amazon, which spent about US$4 million each this quarter. Its subsidiary Sprint spent more, at US$740,000. Lobbying increases by the Japanese holding company and its U.S. carrier have increased when Sprint is in major deal talks. In 2014, SoftBank’s most expensive year at over US$4.2 million, more than 70 per cent of its lobbying spend was for Sprint. The telecom had tried and failed to acquire T-Mobile that year. The impending merger is crucial for SoftBank. Sprint has US$39 billion in debt, and has said it would face “serious challenges” if the deal doesn’t go through. According to CNBC, the merger could be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice as soon as Wednesday.

article-aa

New registrations rose to 2,143 in the 2018–2019 fiscal year, from 1,162 in 2014–2015, the last full year of the Conservative government, according to commissioner of lobbying Nancy Bélanger’s annual report. The number of reports organizations and their lobbyists filed for communications with government officials also increased from 13,134 to 25,756. (The Logic)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: When a significant uptick in registrations and communication was first reported in 2017, then-commissioner Karen Shepherd linked it to the change in government. But the numbers have subsequently remained higher than in the Conservative years. One contributing factor: marijuana legalization. The number of cannabis companies registered rose from 16 in the Tories’ final year to 114 in 2018–2019. The creation and growth of the Independent Senators Group (ISG) has also led to a three-fold increase in lobbying of upper chamber members, from 472 communications in 2014–2015 to 1,588 in 2018–2019. The ISG’s members aren’t directed how to vote by party leadership, so companies hoping to change their minds often have to communicate with them individually.

article-aa

Netflix lobbyists have met with EU commissioners and other staff 11 times over the last 18 months, covering issues like copyright, privacy and digital regulations. In that same time, Netflix’s U.S. lobbyists didn’t meet with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) once. (The Information)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: Canada doesn’t seem to be included in the company’s new lobbying focus. Netflix filed 21 monthly communication reports with the federal government over the last 18 months, but just two of those have been within the past six months. Its engagement in the EU comes at a time when tech giants face increasing scrutiny in Europe. In January, Netflix—along with Apple, Amazon and YouTube—was accused of breaching the EU’s new GDPR data regulations.

article-aa

The e-cigarette company’s goal is to explain to Quebec officials how Bill 2, which prohibits anyone under 21 from purchasing cannabis, could affect vaping in the province. Juul’s participation in the debate comes as Ottawa consults on a draft regulation that, as of October 2019, would allow the production and sale of cannabis e-cigarettes, also known as “vape pens.” (La Presse)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: Juul is not interested in getting into the cannabis industry nor does it oppose having the legal age for cannabis be 21, John Perenack, a principal at StrategyCorp, the advisory firm lobbying for Juul in Quebec, told The Logic. In an emailed statement, Juul said, “Our engagement around Bill 2 is in relation to our efforts to collaborate with government on ensuring that age-restricted products are kept out of the hands of young people.” Though Juul hasn’t yet met with any government representatives, consultations around the bill begin today. The company owns 70 per cent of the e-cigarette market in the U.S. and is already an active lobbyist in Ottawa. It’s being investigated in the U.S. for its allegedly aggressive marketing tactics on young people; the company said its lobbying in Quebec is only to make sure age-restricted products aren’t made available to the youth.

Correction: The previous headline stated that Juul is lobbying against having the legal age for cannabis be 21. This is incorrect and the piece has been updated.