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Seattle targets Amazon with move to curb corporate political donations

[2020.01.13, Mon 11:05] Seattle, the Pacific Northwest city where home-grown online retailer Amazon.com has increasingly flexed its political muscle, is expected to approve on Monday legislation banning political contributions by companies with at least 5% foreign ownership. The move is likely to trigger renewed debate on the legality of corporate donations in U.S. elections while drawing an immediate court challenge. A six-member committee of Seattle City Council has already unanimously approved the measure, making it almost certain that the full nine-member council will pass it on Monday. The legislation before the Seattle City Council says that companies that have at least 5% of their shares held by foreigners, or 1% by a single foreigner, are subject to foreign influence and therefore cannot participate in elections. Amazon's $1.5 million political donation for Seattle's November elections represented more than half of the nearly $2.7 million raised by a Super Pac for those elections. Amazon began to prominently flex its political muscle in May 2018 when the Seattle council approved an employee "Head tax" on the city's largest companies, in order to combat a housing crisis. Just four weeks later, the City Council repealed the tax after a coalition of businesses, with Amazon at the forefront, mounted a well-financed campaign for a referendum to repeal the tax.
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