Apple has a large cash reserve and it's using some of the those funds to lobby Congress. Judging by the money that's passing hands, Apple is taking its lobbying efforts seriously.
In the second quarter of 2011, Apple spent a whopping US$790,000 on lobbying. This is more than double what the company spent in the same quarter of 2010 and up $230,000 from the first quarter of 2011.
Apple is reportedly using this money to influence issues like patent reform, electronic waste, and consumer privacy. You don't need to look too far back in the news cycle to appreciate how these three issues greatly affect Apple and other tech companies.
Patent litigation is out of control with both tech companies and patent holding companies suing each other in court. Tech companies are also struggling to providing personalized, location-based services without compromising customer's privacy.