Amazon.com Inc. has enlisted the help of Patton Boggs in Washington to fight for legislation that would allow states to collect sales taxes from online and catalog retailers located anywhere in the United States.
Patton senior policy adviser Michael Drobac, partner Jennifer Richter, and public policy adviser Sarah Vilms, as well as associates Jennifer Cetta and Gregory Louer, are advocating for the Seattle-based online retail giant on the Marketplace Fairness Act, according to lobbying registration paperwork filed with Congress last week. The bill, which died in committee during the last Congress, hasn't been reintroduced in this Congress.
Patton spokesman Elliott Frieder declined to comment. An Amazon representative wasn't immediately available to comment.
Once an opponent of state efforts to require it to collect sales taxes from its shoppers, Amazon last year began offering optional tax collection services to its merchants, at a price. For Amazon's services, a participating seller gives the online retailer a payment that equals 2.9 percent of the taxes collected.
Amazon spent $2.5 million lobbying on the Marketplace Fairness Act and other matters during 2012, according to congressional records. For its advocacy efforts, Amazon used its own staffers, as well as lobbyists from Covington & Burling, Bockorny Group, Forbes-Tate and TwinLogic Strategies.
Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president for global public policy, said in remarks prepared for an August 2012 Senate Commerce Committee hearing that Congress should create and maintain fairness among sellers.
"Sellers should compete on a level playing field," Misener said. "Congress should not exempt too many sellers from interstate collection, for these sellers will obtain a lasting un-level playing field advantage versus Main Street and other retailers. Congress should rectify the current imbalance and avoid a future imbalance."
This article originally appeared as a post on The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes.