Amazon Hires Ex-GOP Aide in Fight Against Antitrust Bill


Amazon has reportedly hired Judd Smith, a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, in an effort to fend off an antitrust bill aimed at Big Tech.

Smith worked with the committee as it wrote the bill, which would restrict the way Amazon offers products and deals with competition, Bloomberg reported Monday (Aug. 1), citing unnamed sources.

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While Smith helped negotiate changes to the bill as he worked with GOP lawmakers, it’s not clear how much influence he’ll have as part of Amazon, according to the report. He is joining the public policy team with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in an effort to lobby Republican lawmakers.

Congress is set to vote on two bills that could impact the business models of Big Tech, including the American Innovation and Choice Act and the Open App Markets Act, both of which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee vote in March and are waiting for a vote by the full Senate.

PYMNTS reported last month that the vote on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act — which would impact Amazon as well as companies like Google, Apple and Meta — could end up delayed as a previously waylaid reconciliation package takes over everyone’s attention.

Read more: Senate May Delay Antitrust Bill Aimed at Amazon, Google, Apple, Meta

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who is backing the bill, said last month it has the 60 votes it needs to pass the Senate.

But she told MSNBC Monday the bill won’t get a vote before the Senate’s summer recess, with much of the Senate’s focus taken up by the Inflation Reduction Act.

A big part of the debate over how to rein in Big Tech is the question of how companies should or should not use their data — including things like not using the data to favor their own products or hurt competitors’. There are also questions over who will have access to the data and where it should be shared.

See more: Google Endorses Bill to Limit Government Data Demands