Amazon hires key Senate Judiciary staffer working on tech antitrust bills

Amazon hires key Senate Judiciary staffer working on tech antitrust bills

The legislation — the most serious attempt at tightening oversight of the tech industry in years — would bar those companies from prioritizing their products over their competitors who rely on those companies to reach customers. Amazon, for example, would be barred from promoting its own private-label products over rival items on its e-commerce platform.

Amazon’s concerns about the bill have focused on how it would impact the company’s retail business. However, the cloud computing business AWS — the most profitable part of the company — could potentially be affected as well.

Friday was Smith’s last day in the Senate according to a farewell email obtained by POLITICO and one of the people with knowledge of his jump to Amazon. All of the individuals were granted anonymity to discuss a confidential matter.

Smith declined to comment. A spokesperson for Grassley declined to comment. Spokespeople for AWS and Klobuchar did not immediately respond for comment.

Bloomberg earlier reported Smith’s move to Amazon.

Smith is far from the first such staffer to be lured away from the hill to Amazon. Among others, April Jones, a tech and telecom policy staffer for Klobuchar, left to take a job with Apple as a senior government affairs policy counsel last fall. But Smith’s departure comes as AICOA’s chances have been dimming by the day.

Klobuchar has been pressing Schumer to bring it to a vote before the Senate’s August recess, assuring him that it has the votes to pass. AICOA passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with support from both parties earlier this year.

Outside advocates on both sides of the aisle have also been pressuring Schumer — going so far as to pay for a mobile billboard to be parked outside his home urging him to hold a vote.

Then last week, Bloomberg reported that Schumer privately told a group of corporate donors that he did not believe the bill had the votes to break a filibuster in the Senate.

Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.

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