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December 16, 2004

Oddly Enough, I Used to Work There, Long Ago

by Ron Hogan

Dennis Loy Johnson writes on MobyLives about the political donations of America's book chains, as noted by, and it turns out "98 percent of B&N's corporate political donations went to the Democrats, while 61 percent of Amazon's went to the Republicans." Now that's very interesting, especially when you consider that all the Amazon's PAC contributed to Washington House and Senate races went to Democrats who swept their races handily, so what's motivating their Republican cash funneling? Here's the complete list of their contributions, and here's some highlights from the list before I turn in for the night:

  • Sen. George Allen of Virginia, co-sponsor of the Internet Tax Non-Discrimination Act, which bans "regressive taxes on Internet access, multiple taxation (for example, by two or more States) of a product or service bought over the Internet, and discriminatory taxes that treat Internet purchases differently from other types of sales."
  • Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space; Amazon also has a warehouse in Kansas.
  • Sen-elect Richard Burr of North Carolina, who until recently was on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • Rep. Darrell Issa of California, who's also on that committee, specifically the subcommittee on commerce, trade, and consumer protection, but is probably best known for spending tons of money to get Gray Davis recalled and then having his dream of becoming governor stolen by a movie star.
  • Rep. Jim Gibbons of Nevada, who doesn't have any relevant committee positions, unless you count the Homeland Security subcommittee on cybersecurity, but does represent the most populous district in America, which includes Amazon's warehouse just outside Reno.
  • Rep. Michael Castle of Delaware, where Amazon has another warehouse, and who serves on the House financial services committee.
  • Rep. Ron Lewis of Kentucky, whose district includes Amazon's Campbellsville warehouse, but note that they also gave (less) money to the Democratic rep from the district where their other Kentucky warehouse is located.

You get the idea--Amazon knows exactly what it's buying for its dollars, and in many cases it would seem to be quite specific, which is no doubt what motivates their support of Dems like Edward Markey. Then there's the power positions, and on that front they're bipartisan: they liked Tom Daschle and Harry Reid just as much as they liked Arlen Specter and Dennis Hastert. (And they like John McCain, one of only two candidates to receive $4,000 of Amazon's PAC money. The other, Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah, is another Internet tax moratorium guy, but he's also interested in getting broadband into rural areas, which Amazon no doubt loves...) Looking at this list, the name that jumped out at me was Charles Pickering, but then I realized that the Rep. Charles Pickering they're supporting is the son of the notorious Charles Pickering, and they probably like him because he's on the telecommunications subcommittee of the energy and commerce committee... And at this point I really should hand things over to political bloggers and go to bed...

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