Amazon wanted President Trump out badly because he cost Jeff Bezos the $10 billion JEDI military cloud contract. (Amazon still made a ton of money from the intel cloud contract.) If you want to understand why Bezos spent $250 million on the Washington Post, the place to begin is with Amazon’s federal contracts.
In the Obama era, Amazon had received a $600 million cloud contract that covers all 17 intelligence agencies. The secret deal was met with protests especially since Amazon’s wasn’t even the lowest bid.
Amazon’s federal cloud contracts took off in the Obama era. Many of the biggest contracts are classified making it difficult to measure how much taxpayer money is being sucked into the Bezos business. But Amazon is winning contracts in the usual Washington D.C. way, by spending millions a year on lobbying.
The dot com titan began lobbying the Pentagon in 2016. That was the year Amazon’s lobbying expenditures hit a whopping $11 million, up from $1.62 million during the Bush administration. Amazon’s PAC, which the company strongly encourages employees to donate to, accounted for $515,200 in donations to members of Congress.
Bezos bought the Post in 2013. What else happened in 2013?
Building such a robust product tailored for government and spending time holding the hands of federal officials paid off big in 2013, when Amazon won a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency, putting to rest any doubts about the security of stashing data in the cloud.
Since 2013, the money Amazon has spent on lobbying has nearly quadrupled, to $13 million in 2017,
It’s all about the right investments.
The brother of one of President-elect Joe Biden’s top advisers has recently secured a lobbying contract with the technology giant Amazon.
Jeff Ricchetti, the brother of Biden’s designated White House counselor Steve Ricchetti, registered to lobby for Amazon Web Services, the tech company’s cloud platform, on Nov. 13, according to a new lobbying disclosure report obtained by CNBC.
However, a source familiar with the brothers’ relationship told CNBC that the two plan to separate their professional and personal lives.
“Jeff has never and will never lobby his brother on behalf of any of his clients, and Steve has had no role in his brother’s business since he sold his stake in the firm in 2012,” the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the relationship is private, told the news outlet.
I already wrote about Steve last month.
Steve Ricchetti, Biden’s former chief of staff, and longtime confidant, chaired Biden’s campaign. AT&T has been the only corporate client of the Ricchetti Consulting Group for nine years. Ricchetti has deep relationships with both AT&T and Biden. And if Biden were to take over the White House, AT&T would have its man on the inside to protect its economic interests.
Back to Amazon, it’s increasingly a Chinese front.
Amazon’s business is China. Behind the smiling logo, the massive array of businesses covering everything from running the CIA’s cloud to spending $500 million to make a Lord of the Rings streaming series, are a bunch of grim offices, apartments, and warehouses in Chinese cities that make up its real business.
Three years ago, third-party sellers topped Amazon’s own sales. They now make up 58%. Who are they? If, like most Americans, you shop at the giant dot com retail monopoly, you’ve already waded through a stream of random shop names, fake misspelled reviews, and counterfeit products while searching for just about anything. What happened? China happened.
Between 40% to 48% of top third-party sellers on Amazon are operating out of China. The massive growth in Chinese third-party sellers has been fairly recent and transformative.
What Amazon Prime members are really buying is membership in a club that helps third-party sellers from China push counterfeit and imitation products to Americans. Amazon acts as a middle man, charging Chinese sellers and American customers for handling listing, shipping and sales.
When you say, “Amazon”, you really mean “China”.