Why Amazon is doubling down on lobbying

Credits to www.washingtonpost.com for posting this article online.  Amazon nearly doubled its lobbying expenditures in 2015 versus the previous year, spending $9.4 million dollars trying to sway Congress and executive agencies. The jump puts Amazon’s lobbying efforts in the same league as other tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook — and reflects how the company’s expanding business interests have raised the stakes of its relationship with the government.

amazon lobbyingThe issues were wide-ranging from some obvious ones such as online sales taxes and drones. But it also pressed Washington on other matters including computer cloud services, cybersecurity and welfare benefits.

The increased lobbying spending is just one sign of Amazon’s interest in courting the nation’s capital. In the fall of 2014, the company moved its Washington policy shop to a much larger office space. Last spring, Amazon picked up Jay Carney, a former White House press secretary.

“Like a lot of businesses, Amazon has a presence in Washington and we focus on issues that matter to us,” said Carney, now Amazon senior vice president for global corporate affairs.

Amazon has long lobbied for the creation of a national standard for collecting state sales tax for online purchases, a change that would simplify their business practices.

In a recent town hall meeting with Washington Post employees, Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos — who also owns The Post — cited state sales taxes as the lobbying issue he has been personally most engaged on. But so far, legislation at the heart of that change has been unsuccessful — much to Bezos’ chagrin.

“It’s even a bipartisan issue that both side agree on and we still can’t get it done,” he said. “It’s very puzzling to me as an outsider, I don’t know how you guys live here, honestly.”

But Amazon’s fastest growing sector, Amazon Web Services, is far from an outsider in Washington. While most people probably know Amazon as an online retailer, its cloud computing segment is fast becoming a key pillar of its business. The subsidiary — which lets customers use Amazon’s Web-based servers for their computing needs — has deals with big tech firms such as Netflix and Airbnb — as well as some parts of the federal government.  To view the news from www.washingtonpost.com click on this link https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/02/05/why-amazon-is-doubling-down-on-lobbying/

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