September 5, 2018 / 1:00 PM / in 19 days

REFILE-Amazon's Bezos gives $10 mln to bipartisan veterans PAC -report

(In 2nd paragraph, correct spelling of name to MacKenzie from MacKensie)

WASHINGTON, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has entered the American political arena with a $10 million contribution to a nonpartisan super PAC dedicated to electing U.S. military veterans to Congress, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Bezos, along with his wife, MacKenzie, made the reported donation to the one-year-old With Honor Fund as Americans prepare to head to the polls for the Nov. 6 midterm congressional election in what is widely seen as referendum on President Donald Trump.

Representatives for Bezos and Amazon could not be immediately reached for comment on the contribution, which did not yet appear on the U.S. Federal Election Commission database.

Ellen Zeng, political director for the super PAC, confirmed the donation, adding that it aims to split its spending equally between Democrats and Republicans.

Rye Barcott founded the group, which focuses on candidacies for the U.S. House of Representatives, and told the newspaper that Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos shared its apolitical goal of building a “cross-partisan coalition” willing to work across party lines.

Trump’s fellow Republicans are working to maintain their hold on the House and Senate as they seek to continue to push his agenda, while Democrats eye a possible takeover.

Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to take a majority in the House, and two to take control of the Senate.

According to the Fund, nearly 200 veterans are seeking U.S. House seats this year. It has so far endorsed 33 of them on its website, including Democrats Amy McGrath of Kentucky, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania as well as Republicans Lynne Blankenbeker of New Hampshire, Dan Crenshaw of Texas and Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin.

Those with its backing have pledged to meet with someone from a different political party monthly and to co-sponsor legislation with a legislator from another party at least yearly, according to the group’s website.

That promise offers a sharp contrast to an increasingly polarized electorate and fierce partisan battles over immigration, guns, race and social justice issues, and healthcare, among others.

Amazon has repeatedly drawn Trump’s ire on Twitter over the online retailer’s collection of sales taxes and shipping rates via the U.S. Postal Service. Trump has also frequently criticized the Washington Post news outlet, which Bezos owns separately from Amazon, as well as Bezos himself. The two men met last year at the White House along with other tech CEOs.

In January, Bezos and his wife donated $33 million to a scholarship program for young so-called Dreamer immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.

Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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