Starbucks Corp. spent $110,000 lobbying the federal government in the third quarter, focusing on new rules for food labels and ingredients, health information, banking and trade with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
That was 39 percent less than the $180,000 that Starbucks spent in the same period a year ago and 15 percent less than it spent in the second quarter this year, according to disclosure reports filed with the U.S. House of Representatives.
Starbucks said it lobbied Congress, the White House, the Treasury and the Department of Health and Human Services on last year's sweeping health care reform law, which is gradually being implemented. Among other measures, the law would require more companies to offer health care to employees. Starbucks said it also was interested in a section of the bill that would require more restaurants to add calorie information to their menus. And it said it was interested in the development of health information technologies, which usually refers to products like electronic health records.
Starbucks also lobbied for tax breaks on some of the income it earns in foreign markets and in favor of free-trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea that Congress approved in October.
Seattle-based Starbucks also discussed the fees that restaurants and other retailers pay banks whenever a customer pays by debit card. In June, the Federal Reserve capped the fees higher than restaurants and retailers wanted.
Banks have said they deserve to be paid for the infrastructure they provide and there's no guarantee retailers and restaurants would pass along a fee cut to customers.