Apple and the Washington Shakedown

on May 23, 2013

Columnist Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner has a good article on Apple’s problems in Washington, well worth reading is you want to learn something about how the capital really works.

In the popular view of political corruption, lobbyists and PACs shower politicians with money, expecting to buy influence. In reality, the flow runs nearly entirely the other way. Members of Congress spend an inordinate share of their waking hours on the phone, trying to extract contributions from often grudging donors, often with the  not very veiled threat that those who fail to pony up will not find important doors open. Ever wonder why the House and Senate floors are usually empty during “debate”? The members are often at their nearby off-site hideaways, dialing for dollars (Congressional rules prohibit fundraising in the Capitol or in House and Senate office buildings.)

Much of the tech industry refused to join in for a long time, but most of the big companies are now regulars n the lobbying and check-writing circuit. Apple remains a significant holdout.

That’s probably not the reason the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee chose to grill Tim Cook about Apple’s offshore tax avoidance rather than some other multinational CEO. The Senators knew that Apple gets good play in the media. But the treatment of Cook might have been  bit gentler if Apple played the political game with more enthusiasm.