Amazon.com keeps Patton Boggs to lobby for sales tax proposal

February 10, 2013

Amazon.com is continuing to push for an Internet sales tax, which has been a major point of contention among both online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Amazon recently renewed a contract with Patton Boggs to lobby for the Marketplace Fairness Act, a Senate bill introduced in the last Congress that would have given states the authority to require remote sellers like Amazon and eBay to collect sales tax on goods sold online. The Seattle-based retailer retained Patton Boggs in November and paid the firm $130,000 last year to lobby on the bill, but the activity was not reported until late January, the deadline to submit lobbying activity for the previous quarter. The Marketplace Fairness Act, which did not pass, has yet to be reintroduced in the current Congress. Amazon was joined by Target and Wal-Mart in support of the bill; eBay and Overstock.com have opposed it.

Urban Outfitters is venturing into federal lobbying for the first time. The Philadelphia-based fashion retailer hired Abraham & Roetzel in late January to lobby on federal policy involving economic and urban development, according to lobbying registration records. The three lobbyists are the firm’s president Bob Carey, former legislative director for Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.); Lou Crocco, a former senior staffer in the Pennsylvania House; and Kimberly Contino, a former staffer in the Pennsylvania Senate. Neither Carey nor a spokeswoman for Urban Outfitters returned requests for comment.

Iron Mountain, an information management services provider that handles document shredding and other data management, hired Efrus Federal Advisors this month to lobby the government on records management and consult on business development. A representative for the Boston-based company said they are advocating for data privacy laws that protect consumers and businesses, and seeking to lend expertise in the government’s ongoing quest to protect data and migrate to electronic records. Iron Mountain previously has paid tens of thousands of dollars to outside firms to lobby on electronic health records and data privacy issues.

The Business Roundtable is adding to its army of federal lobbyists, this month retaining Podesta Group to lobby on corporate tax issues. In 2012, the Washington-based trade association that represents CEOs of U.S. corporations spent $13.9 million — up from $12.3 million in 2011 — to lobby on a wide range of issues including taxes, energy, finance and health.

Catherine Ho covers law and lobbying for the Capital Business section of The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.
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