Amazon’s influence in Washington is growing. The tech giant lobbied more government entities last year than any other public U.S. company, covering issues like healthcare, transportation, defense, and labor regulation.
In terms of money spent, Amazon’s $14.4 million is topped only by Alphabet’s $21 million, says Bloomberg. While the tech industry overall spent less than half of the $280 million from pharmaceutical and healthcare products companies in Washington, Amazon has increased spending 460% since 2012, growing quickly within its trade.
As the most well-known online retailer, it’s not surprising Amazon wants to have input on talks around net neutrality and data breach standards. Its other issues, however, show where the company is hoping to grow.
According to Axios, Amazon lobbied on self-driving car and drone issues, hinting at new methods of delivery. It supported a law allowing pharmacists to tell patients when using their insurance is actually more expensive, aiding Amazon’s new investment in PillPack. It also covered the labeling of bioengineered food and a pilot program allowing online shoppers to use the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program—signs of Amazon’s emerging grocery business.
Despite its growing influence, Amazon hasn’t been dealt anti-trust lawsuits due to the “consumer welfare” clause: because it keeps prices low, it’s a benefit to the American people.
There’s a growing movement to widen the frame, however, and take a look at how such companies effect our country overall. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for example, has argued that tech giants Amazon, Google, and Facebook need to be regulated.