Nearly two years after Google, Facebook and other Internet companies launched their own D.C. lobbying group, the Internet Association is expanding to open a Sacramento-based office.
The trade association announced Wednesday that it has hired Robert Callahan, a veteran California tech lobbyist for Tech America and the California Chamber of Commerce, as its California executive director.
“He has the relationships. He knows the issues,” said Michael Beckerman, president of the Internet Association, which counts Facebook, eBay, Twitter and LinkedIn among its members. “A lot of the policy we’re dealing with is not on the national level but at the state and local level, too.”
While the trade group hasn’t been around very long, it has already become a growing presence on Capitol Hill, where Beckerman and his staff of seven have made Internet companies’ and startups’ feelings known about a wide range of issues, from NSA surveillance programs and data security to privacy issues and patent troll legislation.
Although the Internet Association plans to hire more lobbyists to focus on state and local issues in the future, it’s kicking off those efforts in California because that’s where a majority of its members are based, Beckerman said. (He wrote more about why they’re focusing on Sacramento here.)