Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

Tax on Internet Commerce Becomes Marketplace for Lobbyists

The legislative battle over taxing Internet commerce is creating a growing marketplace for lobbyists, including former member of Congress. Two top industry leaders have recently hired lobbyists known for the expertise on tax and Internet issues.

NetChoice, an e-commerce business trade association, has hired former Rep. Chris Cox, R-Calif., of Bingham McCutchen LLP (D.C.) to lobby on S. 743 and H.R. 684, relating to federal and state roles in the taxation of Internet commerce. Cox served in Congress from 1989 to 2005 and was chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 2005 to January 2009.

EBay Inc., which claims to be the world’s largest online marketplace, has hired former Rep. Robert Walker, R-Pa., of Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates (D.C.) to lobby on H.R. 684, S. 743, and S. 336 – Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, and all provisions relating to multistate sales tax collection and administration. George Rogers and John Howard will also lobby.

On other issues, former Rep. Robert Cramer, D-Ala., of Capitol Hill Consulting Group (D.C.) has been hired by the Huntsville Hospital Foundation (Ala.) to lobby on “community health issues; Federal health reimbursement; Appropriations; Implementation of Health Care Reform.”

First Principles LLC (Texas) has terminated it lobbying on anti-sex trafficking for its client Argus Global LLC, effective May 31. Former Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and Carol Bevan were the lobbyists.

To search detailed money-in-politics databases, visit Political MoneyLine.

  • Susan Lindsey

    Actually Wal-Mart is a key lobby force in its home corporate office state, Arkansas, giving Womack, the sponsor in the House of Representatives, over $9 million. Consumers/taxpayers imo should be up in arms that they would be required fund a law that would be so costly that the actual use tax collect clearly won’t justify what the tax payers must pay according to the AAA-CPA study. This cost to the taxpayer is not to be confused with the tax that they buyer must pay when buying on the Internet. Yes, this act raises taxes and hurts the middle class. It will thwart smaller business sales. Big government will override state sovereignty. There will be close to 200,000 jobs lost, the kind of jobs that college graduates want, rather than working for Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, etc. – jobs that actually challenge and require critical thinking and an education!

    Other big lobby forces include Sears, Amazon that now favors the tax because they’ve figured out how to make it work by establishing warehouse nexus throughout the US and beat competition by delivering in 12 to 24 hours, Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, and many others that have real estate throughout the country.

    Given that these big nexus companies dominate 83% of Internet sales and ALREADY pay sales taxes, these big companies imo are shamelessly exploiting the American consumer, tax payer and smaller businesses that won’t be able to complete and will too often be closing their doors!

    With over $50 million thrown at the Senate to get it passed on May 6, 2013, and the act flying under the public’s radar, the consumer should be rising up in arms and telling their congressmen to “can” the act.

    The sad thing is that the smaller businesses have absolutely no money to lobby with. All that we can do is write op eds and write our congressmen carefully written, documented letters, something we have been doing huge hours each week. And it’s very disheartening to receive a from letter response to a carefully crafted letter that spells out in detail exactly how harmful the MFA will be to small business America and to Americans, in general. Now if I came with $9 million, like Wal-Mart is doing (and we don’t even know what the final amount might be), even Womack would at least respond with a personally written letter.

    • AZIndependentThinker

      I’d like to make a few counterpoints to your comments.
      “Big government will override state sovereignty.” – The opposite is actually true. As it stands now, states are restricted from requiring out of state retailers to collects taxes that their laws already require their residents to pay. The MFA would remove that restriction and allow states to exercise their sovereignty and require online retailers which conduct sales with their residents to collect the existing taxes the same as brick and mortar retailers are required.

      “There will be close to 200,000 jobs lost” – you are choosing to focus on one side of the equation and are ignoring the number of jobs that have already been lost at brick and mortar stores. Any jobs lost from online stores will be more than made up by jobs created at local brick and mortar stores. Communities will see more of their spending circulated back through their local economy instead of sending to far off places.

      “this act raises taxes” – no it does not raise any taxes. It merely strengthens the collection of existing taxes.

  • Susan Lindsey

    Other big lobby forces include Sears, Amazon that now favors the tax
    because they’ve figured out how to make it work by establishing
    warehouse nexus throughout the US and beat competition by delivering in
    12 to 24 hours, Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, and many others that have
    real estate throughout the country.

    Given that these big nexus
    companies dominate 83% of Internet sales and ALREADY pay sales taxes,
    these big companies imo are shamelessly exploiting the American
    consumer, tax payer and smaller businesses that won’t be able to
    compete and will too often be closing their doors!

    With over
    $50 million thrown at the Senate to get it passed on May 6, 2013 in a few weeks, without discussion, and
    the act flying under the public’s radar, the consumer should be rising
    up in arms and telling their congressmen to “can” the act. What right does big business have to deceive the public with false euphemisms, such as “leveling the playing field”, and require that they pay more taxes to fund their big business growth? That’s outrageous, but that’s what’s happening!

    The
    sad thing is that the smaller businesses have absolutely no money to
    lobby with. All that we can do is write op eds and write our
    congressmen carefully written, documented letters, something we have
    been doing huge hours each week. And it’s very disheartening to receive
    a from letter response to a carefully crafted letter that spells out in
    detail exactly how harmful the MFA will be to small business America
    and to Americans, in general. Now if I came with $9 million, like
    Wal-Mart is doing (and we don’t even know what the final amount might
    be), even Congressman Womack would at least respond with a personally written
    letter that would respond to the concerns raised in the letter.

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