Bernie Sanders Wants To Break Up Amazon, But His Campaign Leads Field In Amazon Spending Through September

Some Sanders staffers have complained about how much the candidate's campaign spends in Amazon purchases, according to a new report.

Bernie Sanders speaks.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Some Sanders staffers have complained about how much the candidate's campaign spends in Amazon purchases, according to a new report.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has made attacks on giant online retailer Amazon a key feature of his campaign, even threatening to “break up” the massive corporation, as Politico has reported. But according to a new report, Sanders’ own campaign is Amazon’s best customer, among the current field of presidential candidates.

The Washington Post on Sunday reported that the Sanders 2020 campaign spent about $230,000 on purchases from Amazon through September of this year, based on an examination of public campaign finance records.

That total outstrips any other Democratic campaign, though the second-most prolific Amazon spender was Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has also made a campaign promise to “break up” Amazon and other big online companies, including Facebook and Google. Warren, through September, had spent more than $151,000 on Amazon purchases, according to a Bloomberg News analysis.

Sanders has also blasted Amazon for what he says are “unconscionable” conditions for workers in the company’s massive inventory warehouses, according to The Washington Post.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post. Sanders has, in the past, been critical of the newspaper, claiming that its coverage of him has been biased due to his attacks on Amazon. But according to The Washington Post, Sanders later backtracked, saying that he was not accusing Bezos of ordering the paper’s reporters and editors to slant their coverage of his campaign.

Jeff Bezos listens.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, reportedly the world’s richest human being. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Donald Trump has perhaps been even more vociferous in his attacks on Amazon, and The Washington Post. But Trump’s campaign spent more than $37,000 on Amazon through September, making it the fourth-most prolific Amazon spender on either the Democratic or Republican side. Other than Sanders and Warren, however, no campaign has spent a sum totaling in the six figures for supplies through Amazon.

Sanders is currently running second in the polls to former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for the Democratic nomination. Biden’s Amazon spending was fifth-most among the candidates, just behind Trump. Biden’s spending on Amazon comes in just short of $34,000, according to the Bloomberg analysis.

The Sanders 2020 campaign has also purchased supplies from other major retailers, including Staples, Apple, Target, Office Depot, and Walmart, according to the report. But the combined total of approximately $82,000 spent by the Sanders campaign at those other outlets is only about one-third of what the campaign spent on Amazon.

The campaign’s prolific Amazon purchasing was the subject of complaints by some campaign staffers, according to The Washington Post. The staffers “felt the use of Amazon clashed with Sanders’s rhetoric,” the paper reported.