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Amazon backs lobbying coalition opposing tech regulation

The news: The Competitiveness Coalition (CC), a grassroots advocate for American taxpayers, is targeting legislation against Big Tech, and it’s being funded in part by Amazon, per Bloomberg.

Big Tech’s multipronged approach to lobbying: Led by Scott Brown, a former Republican senator from Massachusetts, the CC has received more than $1 million from Amazon, according to three sources. 

Under federal law, advocacy organizations aren’t compelled to reveal the names of their donors.

  • This news comes almost a year after the Internet Association, Big Tech’s most influential lobbying group folded
  • The CC’s mandate, per Brown, is to counter “the grave threat to U.S. competitiveness as politicians in Washington work to pass a series of dangerous bills that represent nothing more than a power grab and expansion of government.”
  • The coalition has run a TV ad campaign and op-eds opposing regulation measures.
  • Like Amazon, Google, Apple, and other dominant Big Tech companies have lobbied against the proposed laws, saying that, if enacted, it would be difficult for them to offer services popular with consumers. 
  • Similarly, Google reinforced an anti-regulation agenda through millions of marketers and small business owners by claiming that proposed legislation would make it hard to find their businesses online. 

The big picture: Lobbying both for and against Big Tech legislation is intensifying as the Senate enters a critical month for antitrust legislation, per The Hill.

  • Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer needs to decide whether to prioritize regulatory measures against Big Tech over other key bills before the August recess.
  • The American Innovation and Choice Online (AICO) Act and The Open App Markets Act advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in March. But momentum has stalled as industry lobbyists have overwhelmed senators with emails, calls, meetings, and ad blitzes in opposition.

What’s next? Amazon funding the Competitiveness Coalition is just the latest example of Big Tech’s multipronged approach to battle regulation. While employing top-shelf lobbying firms might fall short of intended results, a chorus of dissent from advocacy organizations could force lawmakers to rethink regulation.