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Amazon lobbied more federal entities last year than any other public U.S. company, pressing its case throughout the government at a time when its power and reach is under a magnifying glass.

Expand chart
Data: Federal lobbying disclosures; Get the data; Interactive: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Why it matters: The sprawling nature of Amazon’s lobbying operation is a reflection of its vast business. What began as an online retailer is now a behemoth that touches healthcare, cloud computing, media and the transportation sector — and the regulatory challenges it faces are just as complex.

The bottom line: In its filings last year, Amazon disclosed lobbying 40 different federal entities on 21 different general issue areas.

  • Amazon's total number of federal entities lobbied was higher than any other public company's, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. (The group's totals also include forms filed by individual outside lobbyists on behalf of the companies.)
  • Among public companies, Amazon ranked below Alphabet, Bayer, DowDuPont and Parker Hannifin on the total number of issues lobbied, according to the group's data.
  • Yes, but: The issue codes used in Amazon — and everyone else's — lobbying disclosure are very broad, often encompassing several major issues in one category. And there can be discrepancies in how different companies fill out their disclosure forms.

Methodology: Every quarter, Amazon must file a form listing every federal entity it contacted on different issues. This graphic shows 518 different disclosures made by Amazon last year across four different quarters, organized on one side by type of issue and on the other by the type of entity lobbied.

  • For example: When Amazon talked to the U.S. Senate about transportation in all four quarters, it generated four entries.
  • That does not mean Amazon only talked to someone in the Senate about transportation four times. Each quarterly disclosure could indicate repeated contacts.

The big picture: Of course, Amazon advocates on a host of traditional tech and telecom issues, like net neutrality and data breach standards. It has also been locked in a battle with competitors over a Pentagon cloud computing contract. But its lobbying records also show a company with interests in regulatory fights around food, drugs and transportation.

  • Amazon lobbied last year on self-driving car and drone issues, a sign of its investments in autonomous delivery of customers' packages.
  • A growing player in the grocery business, Amazon lobbied on a forthcoming pilot program to allow online grocers to participate in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, as well as on the standard for labeling bioengineered food.
  • It advocated around a law that banned "gag clauses" that had prevented pharmacists from telling patients when paying cash would be cheaper than using their insurance. Amazon bought the online pharmacy PillPack in 2018.

"When you put all these data points together, [Amazon] looks like a giant squid with many arms busy reconfiguring nearly every corner of our economy — and our laws. This is one reason monopoly power is a problem," said Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and a prominent critic of the company.

  • "Left unchecked, these giant corporations inevitably begin to govern us. It should be the other way around."

Amazon's statement: Amazon provides a wide range of products and services for our customers, and we’re always looking for ways to innovate on their behalf. Our Washington, D.C. team is focused on ensuring we are advocating on issues that are important to policymakers, our employees and our customers.”

Go deeper: Bloomberg’s Naomi Nix goes inside Amazon’s political battles last year

Go deeper

Exclusive: Lawmakers urge probe into DOJ's alleged racial profiling of Asians

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nearly 100 members of Congress members urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the Justice Department's alleged racial profiling of Asians, according to a letter shared with Axios.

Why it matters: The case of Anming Hu, a scientist who was baselessly targeted in an espionage probe, has renewed scrutiny of the DOJ after an FBI agent admitted to falsely implicating the Chinese Canadian.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

The Olympic events to watch today

Katie Ledecky. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

5 events to watch today...
  • Baseball: USA plays Israel in the opening round at 6 a.m. ET on nbcolympics.com (Watch the replay at 10:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports).
  • Women’s soccer: USA takes on the Netherlands in the quarterfinals at 7 a.m. ET on NBC Sports (watch the replay at 6 p.m. ET on NBC Sports).
  • 🏊 🚴 🏃‍♀️ Team triathlon: The mixed team relay Triathlon makes its Olympic debut at 6:30 p.m. ET on USA Network.
  • 🏊‍♀️ Swimming finals: Watch Katie Ledecky swim the women’s 800m freestyle final and Caeleb Dressel go for his third gold at this year’s Games in the men’s 50m freestyle. Plus live action from the mixed 4x100m medley relay. Coverage starts at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
  • 🏃‍♀️ Track and field: Athletes compete in prelims and round 1 of several events, including the women’s 400m hurdles and men’s 100m.
Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Japan tests teleporting games and "remote cheering"

NTT is using augmented reality holograms to transport an Olympic badminton match to the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Photo: NTT

Japanese telecom giant NTT is using the Olympics to show off a new generation of technologies that can transport the sporting experience to wherever fans are, instead of making them come to games.

Why it matters: Technology like this would have solved tons of problems this year, when no spectators are allowed at the actual Olympic venues. Unfortunately, it's all available only in demo form right now.