Amazon: Corporate lobbyist’s work in Georgia not about HQ2

3:18 p.m Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 Business

An Amazon corporate lobbyist’s registration in Georgia isn’t related to its search for a second headquarters, the company said Tuesday, but it remains unclear what state issues interest the e-commerce giant.

Earlier this month, Jacob Oster, an energy expert for Amazon, registered with the state’s ethics agency, setting off speculation about what policies Amazon might try to shape during the upcoming session. Amazon has hired outside lobbyists in Atlanta for some time, though it was unclear when it last registered a corporate employee to represent it at the Capitol.

“Amazon’s public policy team works on a variety of issues on behalf of our customers in cities and states across the country,” the company said in a statement. “This work is ongoing and not related to our search for HQ2.”

The sweepstakes for HQ2 and 50,000 corporate jobs is the talk of North American corporate recruitment, and Atlanta is seen by many observers as a contender among the more than 200 jurisdictions that bid for the deal. Some in Georgia economic development circles wondered if the in-house lobbyist’s presence under the Gold Dome might be a signal of interest in Atlanta for the project.

Amazon does have many facilities in the state and has a longstanding commitment to renewable power initiatives, which would seem to fit in Oster’s portfolio. Oster declined to comment about his role last week when contacted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Amazon officials did not return messages seeking comment at the time.

The company released its statement Tuesday after a number of outlets reported on Oster’s registration in Georgia.

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