You’ll have to forgive us for laughing when we first saw this article in the WSJ. After spending a year and a half trying to expose the Main Street Investors Coalition for being a CEO-funded fake dark money front group pretending/purporting to be advocating for the interests of investors while really working to suppress shareholder votes on issues like climate change, here we see the same tactic being used by one group of corporations against another.
About 18 months ago a new nonprofit group called Free and Fair Markets Initiative launched a national campaign criticizing the business practices of one powerful company: Amazon.com Inc.
Free and Fair Markets accused Amazon of stifling competition and innovation, inhibiting consumer choice, gorging on government subsidies, endangering its warehouse workers and exposing consumer data to privacy breaches. It claimed to have grass-roots support from average citizens across the U.S, citing a labor union, a Boston management professor and a California businessman.
What the group did not say is that it received backing from some of Amazon’s chief corporate rivals. They include shopping mall owner Simon Property Group Inc., retailer Walmart Inc. and software giant Oracle Corp., according to people involved with and briefed on the project. Simon Property is fighting to keep shoppers who now prefer to buy what they need on Amazon; Walmart is competing with Amazon over retail sales; and Oracle is battling Amazon over a $10 billion Pentagon cloud-computing contract.
We note that similar fake dark money front groups have been advertising lately, like the almost-parodically-named Doctor Patient Unity, which “has spent nearly $30 million on a campaign designed to kill the leading congressional legislation that would make it harder for hospitals and doctors to spring massive, unexpected bills on patients.”