Zynga places bet on lobbyists, hires two D.C. firms


Following a familiar path for high tech companies, social networking game platform Zynga has hired its first Washington lobbyists, filings with the Senate Office of Public Records show. The company seeks to influence legislation "pertaining to regulation and taxation of Internet gambling" as well as online privacy policy.

Zynga, whose share price has fallen recently, develops games for online sites like Facebook and for mobile devices. The company's prospectus, filed with Securities and Exchange Commission on March 23, notes that some of their games, including Zynga Poker, "may become subject to gambling-related rules and regulations and expose us to civil and criminal penalties if we do not comply," though the company believes that playing its poker game does not fit the legal definition of gambling.

A pair of interconnected firms will carry water for the company on Capitol Hill. At Bay Bridge Strategies, Alix Burns, who served as finance director for major states for the presidential campaign of Al Gore, will represent the company. Burns also worked for TechNet, a trade group for technology firms. At Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart, Zynga draws from both sides of the aisle: Jeff Peck, who served under then-Sen. Joe Biden as a top staffer on the Judiciary Committee, and Justin McCarthy, who, was the top liason to Congress for the second Bush administration.

Bay Bridge Strategies and Peck Madigan share the same suite of offices, and are part of the Tiber Creek Group

Spending on lobbying by tech firms has grown explosively over the last few years: Google and Facebook, for example, are both on a pace through the first quarter of 2012 to more than double the $9.6 million and $1.3 million they spent, respectively, in 2011. 

The registrations were found using Sunlight's Lobbying Tracker