Amazon Hires ‘Antitrust Guru’ Seth Bloom

An employee chooses an item from the racking at the Inc. fulfillment center in Hemel Hempstead, U.K., on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

With regulators slapping down mergers left and right, it’s not easy these days being a giant multinational corporation interested in getting, you know, giant-er.

In the current climate, it makes sense that Amazon, a perennial punching bag for antitrust advocates, has hired a big gun to help with lobbying efforts.

According to a report in Politico on Tuesday, the company has tapped Seth Bloom, president and founder of Bloom Strategic Counsel, to lobby the government on competition issues regarding technology companies.

The report describes Bloom, who’s lobbied for Aetna, Comcast, and Microsoft in the past, as an “antitrust guru.” Prior to his lobbying career, he was general counsel to the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee.

Bloom, vacationing in South Africa at the moment, declined to comment. Amazon representatives could not immediately be reached.

In recent months, Amazon has come under fire from outspoken U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.), who’s accused the company, as well as Apple and Google, of making things too hard on smaller internet startups trying to break into their markets.

Aside from the attention from Warren, lobbyists with Bloom’s skills may be increasingly valuable these days, with the Justice Department stepping in frequently to block big mergers.

In July, the DOJ sued to stop Aetna Inc.’s $37 billion purchase of Humana Inc., and Anthem Inc.’s $48 billion takeover of Cigna Corp. Mergers between Staples and Office Depot, Halliburton and Baker Hughes, and Pfizer and Allergan have also been called off this year as a result of regulatory hurdles.

The DOJ’s vigorous antitrust efforts would likely continue under a Hillary Clinton presidency, according to a Bloomberg BNA report from July. Clinton has expressed support for the lawsuits blocking the two health insurance mergers.

The Politico report says Amazon spent $3 million on lobbying last quarter, paying for the likes of Akin Gump, Monument Policy Group, Squire Patton Boggs, Van Ness Feldman and Rich Feuer Anderson.

Before serving on the Senate Antitrust Committee, Bloom was an antitrust trial attorney at the Justice Department, and an associate at Brownstein and Zeidman in Washington, D.C. He went to law school at the University of Pennsylvania.

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