Apple has hired a pro-Trump lobbyist to lobby on its behalf to help it avoid tariffs.
Jeffrey Miller was vice finance chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee prior to becoming a fundraiser for President Trump’s reelection campaign.
Apple hired Miller and his team regarding “trade issues as they relate to technological goods and services”. Apple registered Miller’s firm as lobbyists in October. However, the disclosure form was only signed this week.
“While it’s unclear how much Miller is being paid for his services, Apple has spent more than $5.5 million on lobbying efforts throughout 2019, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Most of those funds have gone toward paying their own in-house lobbyists but it has tapped four other firms outside the company for help this year.”
Apple is trying to get its products excluded from a round of tariffs which could kick in in December. Apple has already been exempted from import duties on the components used to make Mac Pro devices at its Austin, Texas factory.
According to the report, Tim Cook has launched a “charm offensive” on Trump to try and score a favorable deal.
Apple and Trump: Lobbyists and more
Tim Cook and Donald Trump have had a mixed relationship ever since the president took office. Trump has publicly praised Cook, hailing him as a “great executive.” But the President has also criticized Cupertino on occasion. On the campaign trail, Trump called for a boycott of Apple. Recently, Trump tweeted his criticism of the current iPhone UI.
Cook is a long-time Democrat supporter. He was even considered as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, although this never progressed. When it comes to winning favors for Apple, however, Cook seems more than willing to work with the Trump administration and its supporters.
Under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple’s lobbying efforts have ramped up, compared to what they were under Steve Jobs. In 2009, for instance, Apple only spent $1.5 million lobbying Congress. Last year, it spent $6.6 million on lobbying, and $7 million in 2017. While that’s a big increase, though, it’s still less than many of Apple’s rivals spend. In 2018, Facebook spent $12.6 million and Amazon $14.2 million on lobbying. Google, the biggest of the tech lobbyists, spend a giant $21 million.