October 21, 2014

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October 20, 2014

Internet Sales Tax Bill Passes Senate - Contributions from Key Stakeholders

By a vote of 69-27, the Senate passed a bill on Monday that would require online retailers to collect and distribute sales taxes according to the tax laws of the fifty states.

Under current law, retailers are only required to collect sales taxes for online purchases originating in states where they have a physical presence. The Senate's bill is supported by national brick-and-mortar chains and Amazon, both of whom would gain a competitive advantage by the increased burden the bill would place on small and mid-size retailers that sell online (the bill exempts businesses with less than $1 million in annual sales). Opposition to the bill is being led by eBay, which has organized a coalition of small online retailers and activated its sellers to lobby Congress on the bill.

Data: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from interest groups that have taken a position on S. 743 (Marketplace Fairness Act) to members of the Senate from January 1, 2007—December 31, 2012. Contributions data source: Center for Responsive Politics.

  • Amazon contributions to the Senate total $208,428.
  • eBay contributions to the Senate total $177,900.
  • Interest groups supporting the bill (including Amazon, Walmart, AFL-CIO) have given 40 times as much money to senators than interest groups opposing (including eBay, TechNet, FreedomWorks).
  • Senators voting "YES" received, on average, 53% more money from Amazon than from eBay.
  • Senators voting "YES" received, on average, 44% more money from Amazon than senators voting "NO."
  • Senators voting "NO" received, on average, 62% more money from eBay than senators voting "YES."
  • Senators voting "YES" received 29% more money on average from interest groups supporting the bill than senators voting "NO."

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from interest groups that have taken a position on S. 743 to current members of the Senate, from January 1, 2007December 31, 2012. Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org.

Image credit: doomu/Shutterstock

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MapLight is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, research organization that reveals money's influence on politics.

Elected officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws. This common practice is contrary to the public interest, yet legal.

MapLight connects data on campaign contributions, politicians, votes, industries, companies, and more to show patterns of influence that could never be seen before. 

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