Details Emerge About the Amazon Lobbyist in Atlanta Speculated to be Involved in HQ2

BusinessReal EstateTechnology / December 22, 2017 /

Amazon registered a lobbyist in Georgia this month in a move that spurred widespread speculation that Atlanta could be a top contender for the site of its second North American headquarters.

But Atlanta can’t declare victory quite yet: it turns out the lobbyist has nothing to do with Amazon’s search for a second corporate home, which the company calls HQ2.

In a statement to Business Insider late Tuesday, an Amazon representative said: “Amazon’s public policy team works on a variety of issues on behalf of our customers in cities and states across the country. This work is ongoing and not related to our search for HQ2.”

The lobbyist, Jacob Oster, registered on December 7 with the Georgia State Ethics Commission, ahead of the start of Georgia’s legislative session in January. The lobbyist’s presence in Georgia became “the buzz of economic development circles,”  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Amazon was initially mum on why it was sending a lobbyist to Georgia.

Atlanta is one of the more than 200 cities competing to be the home of Amazon’s second North American headquarters — and according to one recent analysis, it’s a leading candidate.

Lobbyists represent the interests of companies or organizations to lawmakers, though it’s unclear what issues Oster will address when the Legislature convenes next month. His LinkedIn profile says he specializes in energy policies at Amazon.

Amazon announced in September that it was seeking proposals from local governments that could offer incentives, like tax exemptions, for the company to house its next headquarters there.

Amazon said it preferred metro areas with at least 1 million residents and an educated workforce.