Contributions by Amazon Employees

This is the second post in our series examining political contributions by employees of major American corporations. Two weeks ago, we looked at the federal contributions made by employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries.

This time, we examine the political contributions made by employees of Amazon. In this extensive analysis, we look at contributions not only to federal elections, but also contributions to all state races, to major local elections, and to 527 (tax-exempt political influence) organizations.

We identified 187 distinct spellings used by Amazon’s employees when indicating their employer on campaign filings, ranging from “Amazon Fulfillment Centers” to “Amazon. Com” to “Amazon.Com; Inc” to “Amazon, Kindle.” Federal campaign data were sourced from the FEC bulk downloads; state contributions were collected from each of the 50 states’ respective campaign finance portals; local campaign data were collected from various cities’ campaign finance portals; contributions to 527 organizations were sourced from Form 8872 on the IRS website.

When FEC supplied party affiliations for committees, they were used. Committee parties for state and local candidates were categorized by hand. Committees that weren’t explicitly partisan but which advocated for positions commonly found on one of the parties’ campaign platforms were categorized as Democratic or Republican. For example, Washington United for Marriage, a committee for marriage equality (pre Supreme Court 2015 decision), was categorized as Democratic; Defeat 1098, a committee advocating against an increase in income tax rates for high earners, was categorized as Republican.

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Key Insights

Top Candidate Recipients

Here are the candidates that have received at least $50,000 from Amazon employees:

 

Of the top 7 candidates, 3 are Democratic presidential candidates, 2 are Democratic senate candidates, 1 is a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and 1 is a Republican presidential candidate.

310 Amazon employees contributed to Hillary Clinton, 275 contributed to Bernie Sanders, 171 to Barack Obama, 55 to Jay Inslee, 54 to Maria Cantwell, 42 to Patty Murray, and 20 to Mitt Romney.

The next highest Republican recipient was Jason Chaffetz, who received $39,000.

Donald Trump received $17,436 from 42 contributors.

Top Committee Recipients

Excluding Amazon’s PAC, here are the committees that have received the most total contributions from Amazon employees:

Committee Name Amount Received Number of Amazon Contributors
With Honor Fund $10,050,000 2
Washington United for Marriage $2,559,513 102
Democratic National Committee $209,061 98
Safe Schools Safe Communities $200,000 2
Defeat 1098 $155,000 4
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee $88,151 59
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee $58,917 40

[Note: As of the last reporting period, With Honor Fund had received one $50,000 contribution from an Amazon employee. However, a more recent $10 million contribution from Jeff Bezos was widely reported (see WSJ article) and therefore included in this analysis]. The committee is dedicated to electing veterans to Congress.

Washington United for Marriage was a Washington committee dedicated to legalizing same-sex marriage in the state of Washington.

Safe Schools Safe Communities is a Washington committee advocating for certain restrictions related to gun ownership.

Defeat 1098 was a committee advocating against a ballot measure to increase income tax rates on Washingtonians earning more than $200,000.

Republican and Democratic breakdown

Since 2006, 90% of Amazon employee contributions have been made to Democratic aligned committees, and 10% to Republican.

Breaking down by party, here are the respective contributions to Democratic and Republican candidates and causes since 2004 across federal, state, and local races:

 

Since 2004, $6,744,988 was contributed by Amazon employees to Democratic aligned committees versus $731,576 to Republican aligned committees. Among all the committees that Amazon employees contributed to 141 were Republican, and 575 were Democratic. Of all the state and local committees, 113 were Republican, and 499 were Democratic.

92% of state contributions went to Democratic committees and 8% to Republican; 90% of local contributions went to Democratic committees and 10% to Republican; 86% of federal contributions went to Democratic committees and 14% to Republican; all 527 contributions went to Democratic committees.

There is a regional component to this pattern. Among employees living in Washington state, 92% of contributions went to Democrats, and 8% to Republicans. Of those who lived outside of Washington the breakdown is 78% to Democrats and 22% to Republicans. With that said, contributions by Washington residents represent a full 96% of all partisan contributions by Amazon employees.

Stay tuned for the next installment. All future analyses will incorporate the rich state and local data we considered here. Having opened our series with an analysis of two tech companies, we will, for the sake of variety, look at a company from a different industry in next week’s post.

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Emil Pitkin

Emil is CEO of GovPredict. He earned his BA in Mathematics from Harvard and his PhD in Statistics from the Wharton School, where he is the winner of the award for top professor. He is an alumnus of elite Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator and has played Carnegie Hall.