Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made himself a well-known figure in the world of politics with his $250 million purchase of the Washington Post last year. So what’s his record of political engagement on the home front?
In short, he sends checks more often than he sends in his ballot.
That’s the conclusion of a new analysis of Bezos’ voting records and campaign contributions, published today by technology consultant, writer and activist Jeff Reifman (who has been doing a lot of Amazon-related number-crunching lately.)
According to King County elections records, the Amazon CEO has voted in 4 of 27 elections since December 2003, or about 15 percent. At the same time, he has consistently contributed to political action committees and candidates in every election for more than a decade.
Bezos, frequently described as a Libertarian, gets credit for voting in each of the three years that he contributed more than $100,000 to campaigns — including the $2.5 million that he and his wife contributed in support of marriage equality; the $100,000 he gave to oppose an income tax on the wealthy; and $100,000 in support of charter schools.
Amazon and Bezos have been criticized for not being engaged with the Seattle community, but Bezos was praised for his $10 million donation to Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, and he has cited Amazon’s decision to put its next campus in the urban core as a positive development for the city.
In case you’re wondering, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, another regular campaign contributor, has voted in every election but one between 2000 and 2011, according to King County records — casting his ballot with “robot-like consistency,” as Reifman says.
Read the full post by Reifman here, including charts. We’ve asked an Amazon spokesman for comment on the voting analysis.