Tech companies have spent almost $120 million on political advertising since the beginning of 2021, according to AdImpact, an ad-tracking service, which Bloomberg says is the first time the tech industry has spent more on political ads than the pharmaceutical industry. Much of that current ad spend is in opposition to an antitrust bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, sponsored primarily by Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Ford School professor Richard Hall said the ads’ main utility may be to intimidate lawmakers. He interprets the ads as a signal from the groups that they could oppose officials in the next election cycle. “That can make a member very nervous,” he adds.