Conservative group’s ad attacks ‘corporate welfare’ deals with Amazon in HQ2 cities

Amazon’s Seattle campus. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

The center-right millennial advocacy group, Generation Opportunity, is targeting Amazon in a new ad that will run in the U.S. cities vying for the company’s second headquarters.

The ad criticizes Amazon for seeking government incentives from cities eager to land its $5 billion HQ2.

“While small businesses and young entrepreneurs struggle, government cuts special deals with Amazon, a corporation that raked in $175 billion last year,” the ad says. It then cuts to a photo of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters and giant biospheres with the caption, “Does this look like a company that needs taxpayer cash?”

Amazon declined to comment on the ad, which is slated to run in 19 of the 20 cities competing for the company’s HQ2. (The ad will not run Toronto, Canada.)

Generation Opportunity formed in 2011 and is affiliated with the conservative Koch brothers. The group targets young people, advocating on issues like higher education and government regulation. Generation Opportunity encouraged young people to opt-out of the Affordable Care Act, among other initiatives.

Generation Opportunity’s scrutiny of Amazon’s preference for incentives shows just how contentious that aspect of its HQ2 contest has become. Liberals and conservatives have criticized the call for taxpayer dollars from cities eager to land the 50,000 high-paying jobs Amazon promises.

The Generation Opportunity ad takes particular issue with the fact that the details of many contending cities’ HQ2 proposals have been kept secret in many cases.

“Americans have no idea how much their government is taking from them,” the ad says.

Amazon plans to announce the winning city for its HQ2 project sometime in 2018.