Amazon taps Trump ally to lobby amid Pentagon cloud-computing contract fight

Amazon’s cloud computing arm hired an ally of President Trump to lobby on its behalf amid the bitter battle over which company will receive the Pentagon’s $10 billion “war cloud” contract, according to a recent lobbying disclosure filing.

Amazon Web Services hired Jeff Miller, a political strategist who operates a D.C.-based government relations firm, to lobby members of Congress about “issues related to cybersecurity and technology,” the filing states, noting he was hired last month.

{mosads}The disclosure, first reported by CNBC, emerges shortly after Trump threatened to intervene in the cloud-computing contract, saying he is concerned the deal is biased toward Amazon.

Amazon and Microsoft are the final contenders for the $10 billion deal, but Amazon is widely considered the favorite. The Department of Defense (DOD) is expected to dole out the contract by the end of this summer, but the process could be held up if Trump acts on the threat.

Trump on Thursday pledged to ask the DOD to look “very closely” at the contract. The president has long railed against Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, raising concerns from critics that the president’s interest is personal.

“I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Thursday. “They’re saying it wasn’t competitively bid.”

Miller, the CEO of Miller Strategies, has lobbied on behalf of a host of energy companies. A recent Federal Election Commission filing also shows he raised over $1 million in donations for Trump’s reelection campaign this year, a Republican National Committee (RNC) official noted. Miller helped raise the money on behalf of Trump Victory, a fundraising committee shared by the RNC and Trump’s reelection committee.

Miller, the CEO of Miller Strategies, has lobbied on behalf of a host of energy companies. And according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission, Miller this year raised over $111,000 in donations for Trump’s reelection campaign. He helped raise the money on behalf of Trump Victory, a fundraising committee shared by the Republican National Committee and Trump’s reelection committee.

Miller was formerly the chief strategist for onetime Texas governor and current Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s 2016 GOP presidential bid, and reportedly dined with Trump last year.

The filing did not note how much Miller is receiving to lobby on behalf of Amazon Web Services.

Amazon Web Services has tapped an array of lobbyists during the first half of this year, according to lobbying disclosures.

The company paid $110,000 to bring on lobbyists from King & Spalding LLP and $80,000 to Van Ness Feldman LLP.

The battle over the Pentagon’s enormous cloud-computing contract — known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) or war cloud — has raged for more than a year, as other top cloud-computing companies argued the deal was built specifically with Amazon in mind. Oracle, the most outspoken critic, took the fight to the courts but lost last week, with a federal judge ruling it did not find evidence of bias.

Amazon has said it is the top company capable of adhering to the high data security standards built into the contract.

A group four House Armed Services Committee Republicans on Thursday sent a letter urging Trump to avoid delaying the DOD’s contract, arguing it is “essential for our national security to move forward as quickly as possible.”

The recipient of the JEDI contract will build a cloud-computing infrastructure for several military agencies.

– This story was updated July 20 at 1:20 p.m. with updated FEC fundraising figures

Tags Donald Trump Jeff Bezos Jeff Miller Rick Perry

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