by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Amazon, the trillion dollar tech company, has hired lobbyist Jeff Ricchetti, whose brother will be the top White House counselor to Joe Biden.
Ricchetti’s firm, which he founded in 2001 with his brother Steve, the incoming Biden adviser, registered as a lobbyist for Amazon on Nov. 13.
According to disclosure forms filed with Congress, Ricchetti will lobby for Amazon on “[i]ssues related to COVID-19, including implementation of the CARES Act.”
Biden tapped Ricchetti, his longtime aide, to serve as his counselor on Nov. 16. CNBC first reported that Amazon had hired Ricchetti.
Ricchetti Inc. is poised to be a lobbying powerhouse in the Biden administration. Amazon is the 10th company the firm has registered as a client since May 1, 2020. Ricchetti has a stable of other corporate clients, but had inked only one lobbying deal since July 1, 2016, according to records filed with Congress.
Ricchetti Inc. registered in August to lobby on behalf of Applied Materials, a California-based firm that produces semiconductor materials. Ricchetti disclosed that he plans to lobby the White House and other executive agencies on U.S. trade policy with China.
Ricchetti also signed an agreement on Nov. 13 to lobby for Vaxart, a biotech company that is developing an oral vaccine for coronavirus.
Vaxart is under federal investigation over its claims to have been part of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration effort to develop a vaccine this year. Prosecutors are looking into whether Vaxart misled investors by falsely claiming to be part of Warp Speed.
The Ricchettis formed their lobbying shop after Steve Ricchetti left the Bill Clinton administration, where he served as deputy chief of staff. In that role, Steve Ricchetti helped Clinton lobby Congress to pass a controversial trade deal with China.