Tags: walmart | amazon | grassroots campaign

WSJ: Walmart, Others Fund Campaign to Take Down Amazon

a woman loads her bags in the back of a white SUV with a walmart storefront showing in background
(Gene J. Puskar/AP)

By    |   Friday, 20 September 2019 01:04 PM

Walmart is among several large companies backing a grass-roots organization trying to topple Amazon through negative social and traditional media posts and by lobbing Congress, according to a published report Friday.

The Free and Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) describes itself as a nonprofit that began about 18 months ago, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Other financiers include Simon Property Group, which owns 200 U.S. shopping malls, and Oracle, the software maker battling Amazon for a $10 billion Pentagon cloud-computing contract under review by President Donald Trump.

The Journal cites "people involved with and briefed on the project."

FFMI seeks to "sully Amazon's image on competition, data-security and workplace issues, while creating a sense of grass-roots support for increased government regulatory and antitrust enforcement," according to the report.

The group, which has not registered as a lobbyist with the federal government, declined to disclose its backers.

"The bottom line is that FFMI is focusing on the substantive issues and putting a spotlight on the way companies like Amazon undermine the public good," the group said in a statement. "If Amazon cannot take the heat, then it should stay out of the kitchen."

FFMI is operated by Marathon Strategies, a communications firm with offices in New York and Washington. Its clients include Walmart and other Amazon rivals, the Journal reports.

Its founder, Phil Singer, is a longtime Democratic operative who has been a top aide to former President Bill Clinton.

He also defended the group.

"FFMI is not obligated to disclose its donors and it does not," Singer said.

Regarding Walmart, it pays FFMI through an intermediary, "according to sources familiar with the arrangement," the newspaper reports.

"We are not financial supporters of the FFMI, but we share concerns about issues they have raised," Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said.

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Walmart is among several large companies backing a grass-roots organization trying to topple Amazon through negative social and traditional media posts and by lobbing Congress, according to a published report Friday.
walmart, amazon, grassroots campaign
297
2019-04-20
Friday, 20 September 2019 01:04 PM
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