A leading Amazon executive was in private talks with an official from the General Services Administration (GSA), the body responsible for managing the basic functions of the federal government, regarding the creation of a web portal for the purchasing of commercial goods, The Guardian has revealed.
In a series of emails uncovered by the publication, Anne Rung, an Amazon executive, began advocating for the idea of government-only web portal to purchase commercial goods with a top official at the GSA well before the legislation which created it was signed into law.
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The amendment – ironically referred to as the "Amazon Amendment" by many of its detractors – has the potential to create billions of dollars for whichever company ends up winning the contract. As Amazon appears to be the front-runner for the contract, the amendment's critics believe it will create a monopoly which will give Amazon unfair powers over the incredibly profitable world of governmental purchases.
President Trump has very publicly voiced his displeasure with Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos's practices both before and after his successful presidential campaign. However, these uncovered emails point to a greater level of influence by the tech giant over the US government which may be outside the President's sphere of influence.
"Amazon wants to be the interface between all government buyers and all the companies that want to sell to the government," Institute for Local Self-Reliance co-director Stacy Mitchell told The Guardian. "And that is an incredibly powerful and lucrative place to be."
Amazon has declined to comment on questions regarding its level of connection with the federal government.