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Amazon has poured more than a million dollars into these city council races

Brittany De Lea

E-commerce giant Amazon is seriously ramping up spending in the City Council races in its hometown of Seattle, during a year when every seat is being contested.

The company confirmed in a statement to FOX Business that it had contributed an additional $1.05 million this week, bringing its total contribution this year to $1.45 million.

“We are contributing to this election because we care deeply about the future of Seattle,” Aaron Toso, an Amazon spokesperson, said in an emailed statement. “We believe it is critical that our hometown has a city council that is focused on pragmatic solutions to our shared challenges in transportation, homelessness, climate change and public safety.”

According to The Seattle Times, Amazon has now shelled out more cash than any other business or union.

Wayne Barnett, executive director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, told the publication that Amazon's expenditure is the largest "in anyone's memory" by a single entity in a Seattle election cycle.

All seven seats are up for grabs.

Amazon’s contributions are being distributed through the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy, or CASE, which is a Seattle-based political action committee that represents businesses in the area. While there are limitations on how much contributors can give to individual candidates, there are no limits on donations to PACs that spend separately from specific campaigns.

According to its website, the PAC’s primary issues are traffic and congestion, homelessness and wage and business growth. CASE is also linked to the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

As noted by The Seattle Times, at least two of the candidates the Chamber of Commerce opposes were supporters of the so-called “head tax” that the council considered implementing last year to combat homelessness.

The Seattle City Council initially adopted the tax in May 2018, which would have required companies that earn at least $20 million a year to pay $275 per employee annually. Amazon, which is headquartered in the city, was one of the companies that pushed Seattle to repeal the tax. It also threatened to withdraw local projects.

The proposal would have cost Amazon, which employees about 45,000 workers in the city, an estimated $12.4 million annually.

Last June, the Seattle City Council repealed the head tax.

In the run-up to the elections, Amazon hosted more than 40 candidates and campaigns for a meet and greet with employees in addition to a candidate forum. It sponsored a series of debates in an effort to get its employees engaged, as well.

Voters are expected to receive ballots for the Nov. 5 election in the coming days.

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