Sanders, Warren Campaigns Spend the Most On Amazon While Trashing It

(Bloomberg) -- During the Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren once again made her position on Inc. clear. “You know what unites my three brothers?” she asked, noting that one is a Democrat, the other two Republicans. “Amazon. They are furious that Amazon reported $10 billion in profits and paid zero in taxes.”

Warren may have the most developed plan to curtail Amazon -- it involves breaking up the company -- but she is far from alone in targeting the Seattle leviathan for political and policy purposes. Her fellow Democrat, Senator Bernie Sanders, has hammered Amazon on the campaign trail. And, of course, President Donald Trump has launched what is perceived in some quarters as a political vendetta against the company and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos.

So it may surprise voters to learn that the eight leading Democratic candidates and Trump have spent almost $600,000 on Amazon in the first nine months of 2019, mostly for office supplies, according to federal campaign records reviewed by Bloomberg. (Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, hasn’t filed campaign expenses yet because he didn’t enter the race until November.)

As the following table shows, the stridency of the anti-Amazon rhetoric tends to correlate with the size of the outlay on its website.

CandidatePosition on AmazonSpent on Amazon
Bernie Sanders“I stand in solidarity with the courageous Amazon workers engaging in a work stoppage against unconscionable working conditions.”$233,348.51
Elizabeth Warren“Amazon crushes small companies by copying the goods they sell on the Amazon Marketplace and then selling its own branded version.”$151,240.90
Cory Booker“I will single out companies like Halliburton or Amazon that pay nothing in taxes, and our need to change that.”$58,572.90
Donald Trump“I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy.”$37,180.73
Joe Biden“No company pulling in billions of dollars of profits should pay a lower tax rate than firefighters and teachers.”$33,715.96
Andrew Yang“Amazon is . . . soaking up $20 billion in business and causing 30% of American malls and stores to close and taxpayers are seeing zero in return.”$31,756.31
Tom Steyer“Last year on Cyber Monday, Jeff Bezos’s wealth grew by $6.28 billion. It would take a family saving $100k a year for 62,800 years to save what he made in those 24 hours.”$30,766.01


“Antitrust law as we know it has begun to hit its limits with regulating tech companies.”$12,639.52
Amy Klobuchar“You want this innovation that Amazon brought into the market. You just don’t want them controlling everything under them.”$4,036.19

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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