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2020 candidates speak out on Amazon’s ‘outrageous’ political spending in Seattle

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. (Getty Images)

A pair of 2020 presidential candidates are criticizing Amazon for donating $1.05 million to a political advocacy group committed to shaking up Seattle’s city council races.

Business, labor groups dump big money to flip Seattle council

On Saturday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the first White House hopeful to speak out directly on the issue, noting how she’s “with the Seattle council members and activists who continue standing up to Amazon.”

Fellow Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders soon followed suit, weighing in early Monday morning.

“In a city struggling with homelessness, Amazon is dropping an outrageous amount of money to defeat progressive candidates fighting for working people,” he Tweeted. “The way Amazon conducts itself in its hometown is a perfect example of the out-of-control corporate greed we are going to end.”

In total, Amazon has donated $1.45 million to the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), a political group that acts on the behalf of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

“Amazon is the city’s largest employer, they care deeply about the future of this city, and they’re investing to make sure voters understand the choices in front of them,” CASE Executive Director Markham McIntyre told MyNorthwest.

CASE-endorsed candidates made it out of the August primaries in all seven council districts in Seattle. Leading up to the primary, it had spent nearly three times more than the next highest-spending independent political action committee. All that has functioned as part of a larger plan to support more moderate, business-friendly candidates.

CASE has also fielded sizable donations from a handful of other local companies, including $130,000 from Vulcan, $50,000 from Expedia, $20,000 from Puget Sound Energy, and $15,000 from Boeing.

Seattle’s own city officials and activists spoke out against Amazon’s political spending last Thursday at a downtown rally.

“When billionaires are on the attack, what do we do?” shouted Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant at the rally.

“Stand up, fight back!” the crowd chanted back.

Among other things, the protesters called on voters to reject candidates backed by big business and to support a proposal from Councilmember Lorena Gonzáles that aims to limit corporate PAC donations.

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