Jeff Bezos Hires Lobbyist as Congress Readies Tax on Space Tourism

Jeff Bezos Hires Lobbyist as Congress Readies Tax on Space Tourism jeff bezos wears cowboy hat and spacesuit Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, participates in post launch briefing from its spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

By Peter Malbin | Thursday, 18 November 2021 02:04 PM

Jeff Bezos' space tourism company, Blue Origin, has hired a lobbyist after a Democrat congressman proposed a tax that could make traveling to space for fun more costly, CNBC reported.

Mac Campbell from Capitol Counsel registered to lobby on behalf of Blue Origin in October and will "monitor and evaluate proposed changes to the Internal Revenue Code being considered by Congress as part of the budget reconciliation process," according to a lobbying registration form, CNBC reported.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., proposed a tax on space exploration companies on July 20, the day of Bezos' highly publicized flight into space with three other passengers on Blue Origin's first crewed flight.

The Securing Protections Against Carbon Emissions (SPACE) Tax Act "would create new excise taxes on commercial space flights carrying human passengers for purposes other than scientific research," according to a press release. Blumenauer is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

"Space exploration isn't a tax-free holiday for the wealthy. Just as normal Americans pay taxes when they buy airline tickets, billionaires who fly into space to produce nothing of scientific value should do the same, and then some," Blumenauer said in a statement at the time. "I'm not opposed to this type of space innovation. However, things that are done purely for tourism or entertainment, and that don't have a scientific purpose, should in turn support the public good."

Blue Origin has already spent over $1.3 million on lobbying this year and spent nearly $2 million in lobbying in 2020, according to CNBC. Bezos is no longer Amazon's CEO but focuses on his space company and The Washington Post, which he owns.

His new lobbyist, Campbell, was formerly an assistant U.S. trade representative for congressional affairs while working in Obama's executive office before moving on to the Senate Finance Committee. His other clients include Lockheed Martin, Las Vegas Sands, and Pacific Mutual, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Related stories:

Original Article