Billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos walks with Blue Origin President and CEO Bob Smith after Bezos makes the company’s maiden flight to the edge of space in nearby town from Van Horn, TX, U.S. July 20, 2021.
Joe Skipper | Reuters
The space tourism company of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos hired a lobbyist with ties to the administration of former President Barack Obama after a Democratic congressman proposed a tax that could make travel in slightly more expensive space.
Bezos’ Blue Origin recently hired Capitol Counsel’s Mac Campbell to lobby on behalf of the company to “monitor and assess proposed Internal Revenue Code changes being considered by Congress as part of the budget reconciliation process.” according to a lobbying registration form. Campbell registered to lobby for the company in October.
Campbell was the U.S. Deputy Trade Representative for Congressional Affairs while working in Obama’s executive office before moving on to the powerful Senate Finance Committee. His other clients include Lockheed Martin, Las Vegas Sands and Pacific Mutual, according to data from the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Blue Origin has already spent over $ 1.3 million on lobbying this year alone. In 2020, the space company invested nearly $ 2 million in an attempt to influence lawmakers. Bezos, who has a net worth of over $ 200 billion according to Forbes, stepped down as CEO of Amazon earlier this year to focus on other companies like Blue Origin and the Washington Post, which he owns. .
Blue Origin and Campbell did not return CNBC’s requests for comment until they were posted.
Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Proposed a tax on space exploration companies on July 20, the day Bezos traveled to space with three other passengers on Blue Origin’s first crewed flight.
The Carbon Shield Security Act (SPACE) “would create new excise taxes on commercial space flights carrying human passengers for purposes other than scientific research,” according to a press release. Blumenauer is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
âSpace exploration is not a tax-free holiday for the rich. Just as normal Americans pay taxes when they buy plane tickets, billionaires who fly in space to produce nothing of scientific value should do the same, and then some, “Blumenauer said. in a statement at the time. “I am not opposed to this type of spatial innovation. However, things that are made purely for tourism or entertainment, and which have no scientific purpose, should in turn support the public good.”
President Joe Biden and the Democrats are proposing a number of other tax provisions as part of their nearly $ 1.8 trillion social spending proposal that has yet to be passed by Congress. One of the ideas is to impose a minimum corporate tax of 15% on the declared income of large corporations.