Amazon joins the Washington, D.C., Chamber of Commerce

Katie Arcieri
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at the new Amazon Spheres opening event at Amazon's Seattle headquarters in Seattle, Washington, U.S., January 29, 2018.
Lindsey Wasson | Reuters Inc. has joined the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, a move that further cements the company's presence in a region that is on the short list for the online retail and web services giant's second headquarters.

Vincent Orange, the chamber's president and CEO, told me that Amazon was invoiced in late August for $2,285, the membership cost for companies with between 101 to 200 employees in the District.

"Amazon certainly is a major, major catch for us," Orange said. "To be able to have them as part of our membership is just great. As a member, clearly we would anticipate them being part of the government affairs committee."

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) declined to comment for this story. Its decision to enlist in the D.C. chamber adds to the firm's growing efforts to join local business groups and work with various stakeholders and lawmakers through its lobbying shop. The company has also advertised for a D.C.-based economic development manager whose responsibilities would include working with local chambers of commerce.

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Amazon Web Services joined the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce about two years ago, said Grafton deButts, the group's director of membership and brand strategy. AWS is also a member of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Northern Virginia Technology Council.

Greater Washington — the independent bids of Northern Virginia, D.C. and Montgomery County — is a frontrunner for Seattle-based Amazon's HQ2. The $5 billion second headquarters is expected to employ 50,000 across 8 million square feet.

Amazon is expected to pick a winner from its 20-city short list by the end of the year.

Orange said the Amazon membership was solidified after conversations with Victor Bonett, senior manager for state and local public policy for Amazon and a 10-year former D.C. government employee.

The D.C. Chamber's total membership is now 1,450, up from 1,329 last year, he said.