Jeff Ricchetti, brother of Steve Ricchetti, Joe Biden's White House adviser and member of the president-elect's campaign, has officially registered as a lobbyist for Amazon's cloud platform, Amazon Web Services, CNBC reported, citing obtained lobbying disclosure documentation. The registration was filed on 13 November – 10 days after the election.
According to the documents cited by CNBC, Jeff Ricchetti's lobbying activities will be linked to the pandemic and the CARES Act adopted this April to aid American families and businesses weather the lockdowns and economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon is not the only company that Jeff Ricchetti will be lobbying for, as he also has a contract with Evofem Biosciences under which he will work to influence "federal health policies pertaining to coverage for contraceptive services".
An anonymous source close to the two brothers claimed in an interview with CNBC that the Ricchettis are planning to separate their professional and personal lives in order to avoid a conflict of interests. Steve Ricchetti himself used to work as a lobbyist, but eventually left the business and sold his share in the company where he was working.
"Jeff has never and will never lobby his brother on behalf of any of his clients, and Steve has had no role in his brother’s business since he sold his stake in the firm in 2012", the broadcaster's source claimed.
Neither of the brothers, nor Amazon, nor the president-elect's transition team has commented on the news. During his campaign, Biden slammed Amazon for paying "no tax" and said no company should be allowed to do that.
Steve Ricchetti is one of the two people in the Democrat's future team who has a background as a lobbyist, with the other being Tom Vilsack, Biden’s secretary of agriculture. The Democrat has already faced calls from congressmen to pledge not to include former lobbyists in his Cabinet. While he has promised greater transparency in regards to lobbying and groups of influence, he has so far avoided making such a pledge.