Published 1:35 p.m. UTC Sep 6, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has stayed remarkably under the radar, giving rare public appearances and mostly avoided social media. That may be changing, at a time when politicians from both ends of the spectrum, from President Trump to Sen. Bernie Sanders, are also calling him out.
Bezos and his wife MacKenzie have donated $10 million to the With Honor Fund, a super PAC that works to get military veterans elected to Congress. The donation was confirmed by the fund’s political director Ellen Zeng and was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
The non-partisan PAC offers support to both Democratic and Republican veterans, with a focus on bridging the divide in Congress. It requires that veterans who receive its funding take a pledge that they put principles before politics.
This includes that they will prioritize public interest above self-interest, not engage in attack campaigning and “work to bring civility to politics” and finally to collaborate across the aisle.
This appears to be the Bezos’ first major donation to a national political group, though in 2012 they donated $2.5 million to Washington United for Marriage, a group that supported a referendum in Washington state that worked to uphold a same-sex marriage law. Referendum 74 passed with an approval vote of 53.7 percent in November of that year.
Bezos, whose wealth is estimated at $168 billion, is also getting press for other reasons. On Tuesday Amazon's stock value made it only the second company to be worth $1 trillion.
More: Amazon's $1 trillion market cap is the kind of attention it may not want
And on Wednesday Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation that would tax corporations for the money their workers receive in government health care benefits or food support through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (previously known as food stamps.)
The Sanders bill is very much aimed at Amazon and Bezos, which Sanders has been criticizing for not paying warehouse and fulfillment center employees a fair wage. It is titled the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies, or BEZOS Act.
Sanders and Representative Ro Khanna (D.-Calif.) introduced the legislation, which Sanders said “gives large, profitable employers a choice: Pay workers a living wage or pay for the public assistance programs their low-wage employees are forced to depend upon."
Bezos has also been attacked by President Donald Trump, who on Twitter has accused it of not paying enough taxes and underpaying the U.S. Postal Service for delivering its packages. Trump has also attacked CEO Jeff Bezos over his separate ownership of The Washington Post.