Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, are making their first major political contribution with a $10 million gift to a super PAC focused on electing veterans to public office.
The super PAC, titled With Honor, works with candidates across political parties. Unlike other mega-donors who have poured tens of millions of dollars into Republican or Democratic campaigns, the Bezoses chose a group whose 2018 mission includes reversing “the trend of veteran decline in Congress.”
Earlier this year, Forbes ranked Bezos – who owns The Washington Post – the richest man in the world, with a net worth of more than $150 billion.
The contribution, first reported Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal, was confirmed by an Amazon spokesperson and With Honor. Bezos declined to comment through the Amazon spokesperson.
In 2012 Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, pledged $2.5 million to support the marriage equality initiative on that November’s ballot in Washington state. It was thought to be the largest contribution to a same-sex marriage campaign in the nation at the time.
With Honor’s website says that the “country has been ripped apart by hyper-partisanship” and that “Americans know that extreme partisanship has corroded our national legislature.” The fund argues that no national institution suffers from an absence of mutual trust more than Congress.
According to With Honor, veterans represented more than half of Congress for much of the late 20th century. But the decline of veterans in Congress has far outpaced the decline of veterans in the overall U.S. population, according to the group. The Brookings Institution tallied veteran representation in Congress at 19 percent – a near-historic low.
With Honor will endorse at least 25 candidates in 2018 based on their leadership history and alignment with the fund’s pledge of integrity, civility and courage. That pledge includes meeting with someone from a different political party at least once per month and sponsoring legislation with a member of an opposing party at least once per year.
As of Wednesday, With Honor listed 33 candidates for House races nationwide.