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OpenAI Expands Lobbying Amid Growing Regulatory Scrutiny

A busy modern office environment with diverse professionals discussing AI legislation. People in business attire are working on laptops and engaged in conversation. Charts, documents related to AI, and a large digital screen displaying AI-related graphics are visible. The OpenAI logo is subtly included in the background. The atmosphere is professional and dynamic, reflecting high-stakes regulatory discussions in the tech industry

OpenAI Expands Lobbying Amid Growing Regulatory Scrutiny

OpenAI is ramping up its lobbying efforts as the artificial intelligence (AI) industry faces growing regulatory scrutiny.

Growth of the Global Affairs Team

OpenAI plans to expand its global affairs team to 50 members by the end of the year, up from just three at the beginning of 2023 and 35 currently, according to a report by the Financial Times on June 13. This significant increase aims to strengthen OpenAI's influence and presence in global AI policy discussions.

Commitment to Benefiting Humanity

Anna Makanju, OpenAI’s vice president of government affairs, emphasized the company's mission. “We are not approaching this from a perspective of we just need to get in there and quash regulations … because we don’t have a goal of maximizing profit; we have a goal of making sure that AGI benefits all of humanity,” she said. AGI, or artificial general intelligence, refers to a type of AI that can perform intellectual tasks at a level equal to or exceeding that of humans.

International Presence

OpenAI’s global affairs department is noted as the company’s “most international” unit, with team members located in regions where AI legislation is most advanced, such as Belgium, Ireland, Singapore, Brazil, and the United States. This strategic placement aims to ensure that OpenAI remains at the forefront of global AI regulatory developments.

Comparative Spending on Lobbying

Despite the expansion, OpenAI still lags behind its rivals in terms of lobbying expenditures. In the first quarter of the year, the company spent $340,000 on engaging with the American government. In comparison, Google spent $3.1 million, and Meta set a record with $7.6 million in lobbying expenses.

David Robinson, who leads policy planning for OpenAI, highlighted the challenges faced due to the rapid growth of the company’s user base. “Walking in the door, [ChatGPT had] 100 million users [but the company had] three people to do public policy,” Robinson noted. “It was literally to the point where there would be somebody high level who would want a conversation, and there was nobody who could pick up the phone.”

Facing Regulatory Challenges

The expansion of OpenAI’s lobbying team comes at a critical time, as the company and other AI firms are under potential antitrust investigations by U.S. regulators, including the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). These investigations mirror the scrutiny faced by Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Meta in recent years.

Antitrust lawyer Omar Ochoa commented on the situation, drawing parallels to previous investigations of major technology firms. “Now, seeing this happen again, but with AI, it is probably a good bet that some lawsuit or administrative action will occur from the investigations because, again, it mirrors what happened a few years ago with Big Tech,” he told PYMNTS.


As OpenAI continues to grow, it is taking significant steps to bolster its lobbying efforts in response to increasing regulatory pressure. With a focus on ensuring that artificial general intelligence benefits humanity, the company is strategically expanding its global affairs team and preparing to navigate the complex landscape of AI regulation.