Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and other executives donated thousands of dollars to the re-election campaign of Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, during the third quarter of this year. Gardner is not up for re-election on Nov. 6; instead, the funds are going toward his 2020 campaign.
Bezos and his wife MacKenzie each donated $5,400 to Gardner’s campaign, the maximum allowed for an individual contributor. Amazon’s David Clark, Doug Herrington, Brian Olsavsky, and Jeff Wilke also each donated the maximum amount to Gardner’s campaign. Additional Amazon employees Michael Deal, Brian Huseman, Shannon Kellog, and Kurt Lamp gave smaller sums.
Gardner’s home state, Colorado, has a city contending for Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters. Denver is one of 20 cities on Amazon’s HQ2 shortlist.
It isn’t clear why Amazon is backing Gardner but as CNBC notes, he has co-sponsored several bills that the Seattle tech titan supports. Amazon has spent millions on Gardner’s DIGIT Act, which would have the Commerce Department create an Internet of Things working group. Amazon did not respond to questions about the donations.
Amazon has significantly increased its lobbying budget and its executives are donating more to candidates than in previous elections. Earlier this year, Bezos and his wife donated $10 million to the nonpartisan group With Honor which works to elect veterans to Congress. It was Bezos’ largest political contribution to date.