Amazon hires lobbyist brother of Biden White House counselor

FAN Editor

President-elect Joe Biden speaks prior to the holiday at the Queen theatre on December 22, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden spoke ahead of the Christmas holiday and called the $900 billion coronavirus aid bill passed by Congress on Monday a start, insisting on more economic relief after the inauguration.

Joshua Roberts | Getty Images

The brother to one of President-elect Joe Biden’s closest advisors just picked up Amazon as a new client.

Jeff Ricchetti, the brother of Biden’s White House counselor Steve Ricchetti, recently secured a lobbying contract with Amazon Web Services, the cloud platform of Amazon and a subsidiary of the tech giant, according to a new lobbying disclosure report.

The report shows Ricchetti registered to lobby for Amazon Web Services on Nov. 13, just a week after Biden was projected to defeat President Donald Trump. Ethics attorneys have previously told CNBC that Steve Ricchetti, who was also once a lobbyist over a decade ago, may have to recuse himself from matters that could impact his brother’s clients.

A person familiar with the brothers’ relationship said they keep their professional lives entirely separate and that Jeff Ricchetti would never lobby Steve Ricchetti.

“Jeff has never and will never lobby his brother on behalf of any of his clients, and Steve has had no role in his brother’s business since he sold his stake in the firm in 2012,” the source told CNBC. “Steve and Jeff keep their professional activities distinctly separate.” This person declined to be named as the relationship is private.

Biden’s stance on Amazon has included calls for the company to start paying their taxes.

“I don’t think any company, I don’t give a damn how big they are, the Lord almighty, should absolutely be in a position where they pay no tax and make billions and billions and billions of dollars, No. 1,” Biden said during a “Squawk Box” interview in May.

The disclosure report shows that Jeff Ricchetti will be lobbying Amazon on issues pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of the CARES Act. Amazon appears to be on the verge of expanding their health care business known as Amazon Care.

The Amazon client is the latest for Ricchetti since Biden was the projected winner of the 2020 election.

Ricchetti also registered to lobby for Evofem Biosciences on Nov. 15., days after he officially started work for Amazon. Ricchetti will focus on “federal health policies pertaining to coverage for contraceptive services,” for Evofem, according to the lobbying disclosure report.

For Amazon, it’s the latest move to quietly start preparing for the incoming Biden administration.

Reuters reported that two officials at the e-commerce company are working on the Biden agency review team. Amazon executives are reportedly pushing allies for roles inside the Biden administration.

During the Trump administration, Amazon did hire those close to the president for lobbying work. One of those lobbyists was Jeff Miller, a longtime fundraiser for Trump’s campaign.

Amazon and Jeff Ricchetti did not return CNBC’s requests for comment.

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