Amazon Uses Ex-US Gov. Exec. To Lobby With Federal Gov On Web Portal: The Guardian

The level to which Amazon has been able to own unrivalled position of power within the United States federal government has been underscored by the degree of lobbying by its officials, according to a report published in The Guardian.

The report claims that the Trump administration was advised by a top Amazon executive in private about the launch of a new internet portal which would arguably help the e-retailer generate billions of dollars and allow the company to also grab a dominant role in the purchasing policies of the US government with respect to everything from paper clips to office chairs.

The report claims to have seen e-mails that clearly show that a top official at the Government Services Authority (GSA) had been in touch with Amazon executive Anne Rung where in the two discussed the possible approaches of the US federal government about the development of the new portal. This conversation had taken placed even before the legislation allowing the creation of portal – critically known as the “Amazon amendment”, was passed into law late last year.

Apparently, because of the frequent Twitter attacks on the Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos – also the owner the Washington Post, from the US president Donald Trump, there is enmity between Amazon and the Trump administration. But the degree to which the e-retailer had managed to hold sway privately within the Federal government is shown by the lobbying power of the company behind the scenes.

New insights into the manner in which some of the key former government officials have been used by Amazon, who are now its employees or as consultants, for exerting influence and possibly bag lucrative government contracts was underscored by the 2017 correspondence between Mary Davie at the GSA and Rung who is a former official in the Obama administration and had been applauded for her efforts in changing the procurement policies of the federal government.

Even though nothing is known about the firms that would be entrusted with the responsibility of creating the US government’s new e-commerce portal, it is widely believed that Amazon would play a major role. This would allow the company access to the $53bn market for federal procurement of commercial products.

Amazon also tops the list of companies that are most likely bag a separate $10bn cloud computing project for the Pentagon which is known as Jedi. This project would in effect transfer the data of the defense department to a private computing system managed by a commercial company.

Amazon’s ambition across the federal government, as well as state and local government is reflected by the number of government contracts that it has bagged said Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

There were no comments made by Amazon on the report.

“Amazon wants to be the interface between all government buyers and all the companies that want to sell to government, and that is an incredibly powerful and lucrative place to be,” Mitchell said.

(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)

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