By Ye Ji Han
As of Monday, March 2nd, Jay Carney, the former press secretary of President Obama, started working at Amazon.com Inc. as the senior vice president for worldwide affairs. Amazon, one of the world’s largest online corporations, decided to hire Carney for his public relations and public policy skills. By accepting this job, Carney also left his position as a political analyst for CNN.
In recent years, other former politicians have been hired to high-tech companies, including Google, Apple, and Uber. Amazon is the latest to join this bandwagon, and it appears as though this trend isn’t going to stop. The main goal of hiring politicians is to gain the connections they possess. When these individuals begin to work for them, it is easier to persuade higher ranking officials to make decisions in the company’s favor. In other words: lobbying. Many of these big name businesses spend millions on lobbying in order to get away with certain actions or to have decisions made in their favor. Amazon spent $5 million in 2014 just to lobby, which is twice as much as the year before and that number seems like it is just going to continue escalating. The ultimate goal is to expand their businesses without having these projects shut down by government regulations. Because of this, they are able to continue technological advancements.
Jay Carney officially left his position at the White House in June 2014. He was first hired as Obama’s press secretary in 2011, previously being a reporter for TIME magazine for 21 years. Carney resigned from the job due to family issues. At the end of his time as the White House spokesperson, he constantly tried to have free time for his family. However, it never seemed to be enough, so he left.
Amazon went for years without taking such actions, but the company ultimately decided to follow its competitors and try to “catch up.” Last year, the e-commerce company announced plans to develop droids to deliver packages to consumers’ houses. However, that was put on hold because of the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) putting regulations on them. The company had dealt with situations like these before by themselves, and they wanted someone (a politician) who could have some influence in government conflicts in Amazon’s favor.
Carney’s new position in the company requires him to oversee all of the lobbying actions made by Amazon and public policy, and report to Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, directly if needed, said by Politico. Amazon, other than confirming the hiring, has not said anything further, and Jay Carney himself has yet to comment on the matter.