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Amazon urges marketing consultant to ‘push’ message from minority teams

Lawless linked to a letter the Nationwide Minority High quality Discussion board, an advocacy group centered on well being disparities amongst minority teams, despatched to lawmakers elevating considerations about whether or not the invoice would defend in opposition to well being information breaches. The letter was addressed to Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the invoice’s Democratic co-sponsor Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who’re working to go the invoice by the tip of the summer time.

The push from Amazon this week is the most recent effort by the tech giants to battle unfavorable laws by claiming it can harm minority teams, together with by funding a few of these advocates, as POLITICO beforehand reported. The Nationwide Minority High quality Discussion board lists Amazon as one among its company companions.

The e-mail reveals that the corporate is continuous to focus its lobbying muscle on that message, and offers a recent glimpse into how Amazon tries to execute this technique within the press and thru its consultants.

Corporations ceaselessly push messaging that’s favorable to their causes from advocacy teams. However the e mail is notable as a result of it offers new particulars on how Amazon is working to beat again probably the most critical regulatory menace the tech trade has confronted in many years.

The social justice message is especially resonant through the Biden period, throughout which Democrats have emphasised racial and ethnic discrimination.

It’s a controversial speaking level for the corporate, which has been criticized for mistreating its Black and Muslim staff, promoting racially biased facial recognition know-how and spreading air pollution in communities of shade with its warehouses.

Tech lobbyists have spent months pushing messages opposing the laws from minority teams that obtain funding from the key tech firms, together with Amazon, Google and Meta. Google earlier this yr urged reporters to cowl a letter denouncing the laws from the Nationwide Newspaper Publishers Affiliation, a commerce group representing Black newspaper publishers that has acquired funding from Google.

“In a last-ditch try and protect their corrosive powers, huge tech is now circulating arguments that antitrust laws will hurt Black communities,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a co-sponsor of Home tech antitrust laws and former whip of the Congressional Black Caucus, stated in an e mail to POLITICO earlier this yr. “I don’t purchase it.”

In Wednesday’s e mail alternate, the FTI marketing consultant replied to Amazon that whereas he can be glad to advertise the letter to media shops, he was undecided if he was allowed to take action, on condition that FTI has not been licensed to “do exterior outreach on behalf of Amazon.” It has not beforehand been publicly disclosed that FTI, one of many largest monetary advisory corporations on the earth, works for Amazon.

“I’m pleased to achieve out to Brendan and Sarah, however simply need to make doubly certain I’m not exceeding our mandate with you,” the marketing consultant wrote to Amazon, referencing the authors of POLITICO’s every day tech and well being care coverage newsletters. “There’s a respectable likelihood Brendan and/or Sarah will ask if we’re sending this on behalf of a shopper. Are you okay if I say Amazon?”

FTI Consulting and Amazon declined to remark. The Nationwide Minority High quality Discussion board didn’t reply to a request for remark.

The marketing consultant mistakenly copied a POLITICO reporter in on the e-mail. Shortly after he despatched an apologetic e mail to the reporter. “I clearly simply despatched an inside dialogue e mail to you on accident,” he wrote. “As you possibly can learn, it was pre-decisional.”

Brendan Bordelon contributed to this report.

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