Amazon.com Inc. has ended its contract with lobbying firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Squire Patton Boggs and has hired Paul Brathwaite of Federal Street Strategies LLC and Josh Holly of Holly Strategies Inc. in their place, Bloomberg News reported March 30.
Citing an unnamed source familiar with the situation, Bloomberg reported that Amazon made the change March 23, nearly a week before U.S. President Donald Trump attacked the retailer, calling its tax record inadequate via Twitter. Trump is "obsessed" with the online seller and thinking of ways to go after the company because he believes it is leading to the demise of shopping malls and brick-and-mortar sellers, Axios reported March 28.
Bloomberg noted that Amazon is facing a shifting landscape in Washington, marked by Trump's criticisms and other calls for scrutiny. Some outside groups have claimed that Amazon has gotten too big and should be investigated for anti-competitive practices.
Brathwaite and Holly used to work as outside lobbyists at the defunct Podesta Group for rental service provider Airbnb and Oracle Corp., according to the Bloomberg report.
At Squire Patton Boggs, Amazon's lobbyists included former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.
Amazon signed Akin Gump in 2014 and Patton Boggs in 2013. Amazon did not respond to Bloomberg's request for comment. Amazon spent $13 million in 2017 on lobbying, Bloomberg reported, citing regulatory disclosures.