House GOP Leader McCarthy Warned Amazon CEO: Stay Out of Politics

Andy Jassy reportedly went to D.C. at least three times to meet with politicians including CA’s Kevin McCarthy after replacing Jeff Bezos

House Minority Leader, California’s own Kevin McCarthy, advised Amazon CEO Andy Jassy to stay out of politics, the New York Times reported this week.

According to the Times, Jassy spoke with the Rep. from Bakersfield last September while in Washington to meet with all four members of congressional leadership.

Although a spokesperson for McCarthy declined to comment on the meeting, the paper cites a person with knowledge of it who said the Republican leader told Jassy to focus on building products and to stay out of contentious political and social issues.

Jassy took over for Jeff Bezos as Amazon CEO last July and, according to the Times, traveled to Washington “at least three times” for several reasons, including lobbying against antitrust legislation targeting large tech companies, such as Amazon, Meta, Google and Facebook.

On their end, Republicans have been increasingly frustrated by companies taking a liberal stand on issues. Earlier this year, Disney took a stand against Florida’s legislation forbidding schools from teaching sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade—dubbed the Don’t Say Gay law—and the opposition triggered conservatives, who launched a national boycott.

Since speaking to McCarthy, Amazon has faced pressure to take a liberal side on several political issues, including the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Though Amazon reassured employees that they would cover travel expenses incurred as a result of being forced to go out of state to undergo an abortion, the Fortune 500 company with 1.6 million employees declined to follow labor pleas to “publicly and unequivocally denounce this decision” or to “organize company-sponsored protests in support of Amazon employees.”

Instead, human resources chief Beth Galetti advised employees to “be respectful of everyone’s perspectives” and stated the company is committed to “taking care of and supporting our employees’ personal medical needs.”

The New York Times piece makes the case that Jassy’s meetings in Washington with McCarthy and other top political leaders “are a sign of a new era taking shape at Amazon.”

Matt McIlwain, a managing partner at Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group—an early investor in the company—told the paper that, compared to Bezos, Jassy has a far more hands-on approach to regulatory and political challenges in Washington.

“I think those kinds of things do matter more to Andy,” said McIlwain. “Jeff has more of a libertarian mindset.”

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