Amazon now has more power than any US state or city, tech investor Roger McNamee says

  • Tech investor Roger McNamee said Amazon has surpassed U.S. state and municipal governments in terms of its practical power.
  • Amazon has insisted elected officials of the 20 remaining contenders for the company's second headquarters keep the rest of the race "confidential."
  • Bowing to Amazon's whims could set a unique precedent, McNamee said.

As metro areas compete to be the home of Amazon's second headquarters, Americans watching the process play out are learning how much power the company has amassed, tech investor Roger McNamee said Thursday.

"We know where the power is in this country now. You think of the government historically as being the largest entity," McNamee told CNBC's "Squawk Alley." "But when we look around now Amazon's clearly got wildly more power than any state or any city."

Amazon is insisting the elected officials of the 20 remaining contenders keep the rest of the race "confidential," several mayors confirmed to CNBC, saying they didn't mind.

"At some point the country's gotta have a conversation," McNamee said. "Is it appropriate that we always bend over when these guys come into town?"

Bowing to Amazon's whims could set a unique precedent too, McNamee said, if Apple decides to launch a similar bid process for the location of its new campus.

"[Municipalities have] their slideshows ready to go — they just put an Apple instead of an Amazon [logo], and off we go."

— CNBC's Scott Cohn contributed to this report.