👨🏽‍⚖️ Seattle turns against Citizens United -- and Amazon -- with new election law

Seattle’s city council voted Monday to approve an act that created a way to get around the infamous Citizens United precedent. And it’s all because of Amazon. 

  • Citizens disbanded: In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled , essentially allowing corporations unfettered abilities to pour money into political campaigns through PACs. 

  • The election of Amazon: Amazon, which employs more than 50,000 people at its Seattle HQ, donated $1.5m to a PAC that supported several pro-business candidates for local leadership positions in a 2019 November election. Only two of those candidates won. 

  • Tracing foreign influence: Rather than directly challenge Citizens United, Seattle city council devised an end run. This new law bans companies that have one foreign investor owning 1 percent of the company or multiple foreign investors owning 5 percent of a company from making political donations. Amazon is reportedly 9 percent foreign-owned.    

The Verdict 

More and more tech companies have been getting involved in politics (see that whole antitrust thing above!). They spent millions in the run-up to the 2016 national election. A national law similar to Seattle’s is unlikely, but other local municipalities may take notice.