Amazon

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Amazon (Amazon.com, Inc.) is an online trading company that was founded in July 1995 by its CEO, Jeff Bezos.[1] The website started as an online bookstore but quickly became the world's largest online "anything store". Besides offering millions of books, music, and DVD's, it also sells electronics, clothing, prescription drugs, and auto parts.[2] The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. In May 1997 the company was floated on the stock exchange. (Its Nasdaq symbol is AMZN.)

CEO Jeff Bezos is listed in Forbes as having a personal fortune of US$5.1 billion. [3]

Top competitors are Barnes & Noble, Columbia House, and eBay. [2]

Support for the American Legislative Exchange Council

Amazon was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. A spokesperson announced at a shareholder meeting on May 24, 2012 that it had decided not to renew its membership in ALEC in 2012.[4] Amazon had been a member of ALEC's Communications and Technology Task Force in 2011.[5] In August 2011, Amazon was a "Director" level sponsor of ALEC's 38th Annual Conference[6] ($10,000 in 2010).[7] Furthermore, Braden Cox, Amazon's Director of U.S. State Public Policy,[8] was a featured speaker at the 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting at a Workshop titled, "Exploring ALEC Positions on E-Commerce and E-Taxes."[9]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.


Political contributions

In the 2014 midterm election cycle, Amazon's reported political contributions of $355,612, including $203,971 to Democratic candidates and PACs and $135,025 to Republican candidates and PACs.[10]

Candidates who have received $5,000 or more from Amazon include:

In prior cycles, Amazon's contributions at the federal level totaled:

  • 2012: $540,310 (64% to Democrats, 34% to Republicans)
  • 2010: $285,564 (67% to Democrats, 33% to Republicans)
  • 2008: $313,942 (80% to Democrats, 20% to Republicans)
  • 2006: $88,500 (54% to Democrats, 46% to Republicans)[12]

Lobbying

The company spent $735,000 for lobbying in the first half of 2007. Two lobbying firms were used - Bockorny Group and DLA Piper. [13]

Subsidies

A 2014 report by Good Jobs First found that Amazon had received at least 49 taxpayer subsidies worth $418,822,109. The report is based on information in public databases, news stories, and open records requests made by Good Jobs First, and is likely a conservative estimate.[14]

On the issue of subsidizing low-wage employers, the report notes,

"When a state or local government subsidizes a Wal-Mart store or an Amazon.com warehouse, it is doing the most to intensify economic inequality by enriching individuals at the very top of the income hierarchy while also perpetuating poor quality jobs at the bottom."[14]

People

As of 2012:[15]

  • Jeffrey Bezos - Chairman of the Board, President, CEO & Founder
  • Jeffrey Blackburn - SVP, Business Development
  • Andrew Jassy - SVP Web Services
  • Steven Kessel - SVP Worldwide Digital Media
  • Marc Onetto - SVP, Worldwide Operations
  • Diego Piacentini - SVP, International Retail
  • Thomas Szkutak - SVP and CFO
  • H. Brian Valentine - SVP, Ecommerce Platform
  • Jeffrey Wilke - SVP, North America Retail
  • L. Michelle Wilson - SVP, General Counsel, Secretary
  • Tom Alberg - Managing Director, Madrona Ventures Group
  • [[John Seely Brown - Visiting Scholar and Advisor to the Provost at USC
  • William B. Gordon - Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Myrtle S. Potter - CEO Chapman Properties
  • Thomas O. Ryder - Former Chairman and CEO, Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
  • Patricia Q. Stonesifer - CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Former Members [16]

  • Richard Dalzell - Former SVP and CIO
  • Mark Peek - Former SVP and CAO
  • L. John Doerr - General Partner, Kleiner Perkins and Caufiled

Contact details

1200 12th Avenue South
Suite 1200
Seattle, WA 98144
Phone: 206-266-1000
Web: http://www.amazon.com

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles

References

  1. Amazon, "FAQs", accessed December 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Amazon.com Profile, Hoovers, accessed December 2007.
  3. Jeffrey Bezos, Forbes, accessed December 2007.
  4. Rebekah Wilce, Amazon.com 16th Corporation to Dump ALEC, PRWatch.org, May 24, 2012
  5. American Legislative Exchange Council, Telecommunications & Information Technology Task Force Meeting, ALEC’s 2011 Spring Task Force Summit, April 30, 2011, Meeting DRAFT Minutes, organizational meeting minutes, July 18, 2011, documents obtained and released by Common Cause, April 2012
  6. American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Conference Sponsors, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 4, 2011
  7. American Legislative Exchange Council, Sponsorship Opportunities at ALEC's Annual Meeting, organizational website, 2010, accessed August 4, 2011
  8. [http://www.linkedin.com/pub/braden-cox/0/33a/790 Braden Cox." LinkedIn Profile. LinkedIn.com. Accessed Aug. 12, 2011.
  9. [American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Conference Workshops, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011]
  10. Center for Responsive Politics, Contributions totals, Open Secrets database, accessed January 5, 2015.
  11. Center for Responsive Politics, Contributions totals, Open Secrets database, accessed January 5, 2015.
  12. Center for Responsive Politics, Contributions totals, Open Secrets database, accessed January 5, 2015.
  13. Amazon lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed December 2007.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Philip Mattera, Kasia Tarczynska and Greg LeRoy, "Tax Breaks and Inequality: Enriching Billionaires and Low-Road Employers in the Name of Economic Development," Good Jobs First, December 2014. Accessed January 5, 2014.
  15. Amazon.com Investor Relations: officers and directors, Accessed April 19th, 2012
  16. Amazon, Crunchbase, accessed December 9, 2007.