Following recent spike in lobbying, Amazon makes move to DC metro area

CEO and founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos speaks at a September event in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Amazon has had a close relationship with Washington, D.C. for some time now, but soon enough the two will be neighbors.

The company announced Tuesday that one of its two new headquarters will be located in Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, an area that Amazon is attempting to rebrand as “National Landing.”

Amazon will have a location across the river from the nation’s capital, where it has steadily increased its lobbying and campaign contributions over the last decade.

Amazon ramped up its lobbying spending in 2015 — $9.4 million compared to $4.9 million the year prior — and never looked back. The company has spent $10.6 million on lobbyists so far this year and more than $44 million in the last four years.

The move brings Amazon’s second headquarters to a national defense-heavy area. Several defense contractors — including industry giant Lockheed Martin — and Pentagon offices are located in the Arlington neighborhood.

Though it’s known for its two-day free shipping, Amazon is heavily involved in national security-related lobbying. After winning a $600 million cloud contract with the Central Intelligence Agency in 2013, Amazon is considered the frontrunner to win a $10 billion contract to operate the Pentagon’s new Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud (JEDI), which will transfer Department of Defense data onto a cloud-based system.

Amazon’s lobbyists have weighed in on “cloud computing” and cybersecurity topics in many of its recent lobbying disclosure forms.

Facing potential antitrust regulation and antitrust threats from President Donald Trump, the company has weighed in on competition several times.

The company has also been active on the topic of taxes, particularly on bills that would streamline sales taxes for goods sold online.

As Amazon has beefed up its lobbying efforts, its PAC has steadily increased its contributions to political candidates, giving $1.17 million this cycle compared to $515,200 in 2016 and $151,170 in 2014. Between its PAC and its employees, Amazon has given more than $2.1 million to candidates this cycle, $1.66 million of which was sent to incumbents.

On the House side, Amazon’s favorite committee is the powerful Armed Services Committee — with its members getting a combined $234,497. Members of the Senate Finance Committee got more than $238,000 in total.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has shown interest in supporting veterans, contributing more than $10 million — and another $2 million from individuals who run the Bezos Family Foundation — to the With Honor Fund, which supports military veterans in both parties running for office.

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