President-elect Joe Biden speaks at the Queen Theater on December 22, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware before the holidays. Speaking ahead of the Christmas break, Biden called the $ 900 billion coronavirus aid bill passed by Congress on Monday as a start and insisted on more post-inaugural economic relief.
Joshua Roberts | Getty Images
The brother of one of President-elect Joe Biden’s closest advisors has just selected Amazon as a new customer.
Jeff Ricchetti, the brother of Steve Ricchetti, a White House advisor in Biden, recently entered into a lobbying deal with Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud platform and a subsidiary of the tech giant. This emerges from a new report on lobbying disclosure.
The report reveals that Ricchetti was registered in the lobby for Amazon Web Services on November 13, just a week after Biden was supposed to defeat President Donald Trump. Ethics attorneys previously told CNBC that Steve Ricchetti, who was also a lobbyist over a decade ago, may have to back off on matters that could affect his brother’s clients.
A person familiar with the brothers’ relationship said that they keep their professional lives completely separate and that Jeff Ricchetti would never lobby Steve Ricchetti.
“Jeff has never and never will lobby his brother on behalf of any of his clients, and Steve has not played a role in his brother’s business since selling his stake in the company in 2012,” the source told CNBC. “Steve and Jeff keep their professional activities clearly separate from each other.” This person declined to be named because the relationship is private.
Biden’s stance on Amazon included calls for the company to pay its taxes.
“I think no company, I don’t care how big they are, the Almighty Lord, should absolutely be able not to pay taxes and make billions and billions and billions of dollars, No. 1,” said Biden during a “Squawk Box” interview in May.
The disclosure report shows that Jeff Ricchetti will lobby Amazon on issues related to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of the CARES law. Amazon appears to be on the verge of expanding its healthcare business known as Amazon Care.
The Amazon customer is the latest for Ricchetti as Biden was the planned 2020 election winner.
Ricchetti signed up for Evofem Biosciences in the lobby on November 15, days after he officially started working for Amazon. Ricchetti will focus on “federal health policy related to contraceptive coverage” for Evofem, according to the lobbying disclosure report.
For Amazon, the last step is to quietly prepare for the incoming Biden administration.
Reuters reported that two officials from the e-commerce firm are on the Biden agency’s review team. Amazon executives have reportedly been pushing allies into roles within the Biden administration.
During the Trump administration, Amazon hired those close to the president to lobby. One such lobbyist was Jeff Miller, a longtime fundraiser for Trump’s campaign.
Amazon and Jeff Ricchetti have not returned CNBC’s requests for comments.