Tea Party Senators and a conservative newspaper came -- briefly -- to Apple's defense.
FORTUNE -- Steve Jobs wasn't given to making political statements, but he did send signals: He dated Joan Baez, he toasted Barack Obama and, according to Walter Isaacson's biography, he chewed out Rupert Murdoch privately for letting Fox News become "an incredibly destructive force in our society."
But when Tim Cook testified before a Senate subcommittee about Apple's (AAPL) taxes, it was a Democrat, Carl Levin, who gave Jobs' successor the hardest time, and two Republicans elected with Tea Party support -- Ron Johnson and Rand Paul -- who came to his defense. ("I'm offended by the tone of these hearings," said Sen. Paul, "Apple has done more to enrich people's lives than politicians will ever do.")
Perhaps Apple's most surprising support after the hearing came from the Washington Examiner, a free daily newspaper owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschultz and described by Politico as "a megaphone for [Anschutz's] right-wing views on taxes, national security and President Barack Obama." Under the headline "Apple becomes latest target of the Beltway Shakedown" columnist Tim Carney wrote:
"The grilling of Apple is best understood as a shakedown by politicians upset with Apple for not playing the Washington game that yields contributions, power, and personal wealth for congressmen and their aides.
"Apple doesn't have a political action committee to fund incumbents' re-elections. Apple doesn't hire many congressional staff or any former congressmen as lobbyists. Apple mostly minds its own business -- and how does that help the political class?"
In this context, the appointment this week of former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson as Apple's vice president for environmental initiatives could have a double effect. She's a Beltway insider who could give the company access to the corridors of power. And as a long-time scourge of conservative columnists who saw her as "tyrant" and an "especially abusive and willful regulator" (to quote the Wall Street Journal), she could shake loose Apple's support from the right.
"Her EPA specialty was imposing rules regardless of costs, while stretching 'benefits' with doughy concepts such as economic redistribution and alleviating racial grievances," wrote the Journal's Joseph Rago in Thursday's paper. "Then again, with roughly $145 billion of cash on hand, Apple may be the only U.S. company rich enough to afford Ms. Jackson."
While Mountain View stepped up its political efforts, Cupertino cut back
FORTUNE -- The last time we looked at Silicon Valley's lobbying efforts, Google (GOOG) was the big spender and Apple (AAPL) the piker. (See For every $1 Google spends lobbying, Apple spends 10¢.)
That hasn't changed much in the past nine months. In fact, Google increased its political spending in 2012 -- a Presidential election year -- by nearly 90%, while Apple MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 18, 2013 12:38 PM ET
An excerpt from his acceptance speech, offered in context and without comment
FORTUNE -- The Republican candidate for President mentioned Apple (AAPL) and Steve Jobs in his acceptance speech at the party's convention Thursday night. Here's what he had to say:
When I was 37, I helped start a small company. My partners and I had been working for a company that was in the business of helping other businesses.
So some of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 31, 2012 11:43 AM ET
What does it means to be a libertarian in the digital age? Tim Lee is just the man to ask.
Many computer geeks are also libertarians, so it's not too surprising to hear Tim Lee proudly describe himself as a member of both groups. No, what makes Lee unusual is his passion for figuring out exactly what it means to be both a libertarian and a technophile. What's the best way to MOREScott Woolley - Dec 16, 2010 3:00 AM ET
New tool shows which governments pull content and how much from Google's sites.
Google today announced that it was unveiling a tool to increase its transparency when dealing with governments and their takedown requests.
Strangely, China is absent from the results. Maybe China asked for that to be pulled down too.Seth Weintraub - Apr 21, 2010 5:35 PM ET
Howard Dean may be out of a job soon. "The Internet puts people like politicians out of business," said the former chairman of the Democratic National Party and Governor of Vermont. "Our own government is going to get run over by both the private sector and young people organizing over the Net." But politicos aren't completely out of the Internet loop, and Dean offered several examples of election results shaped MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Jul 23, 2009 8:06 AM ET
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