Why haven’t a majority of Amazon HQ2 finalists released their proposals?

Ecommerce leader Amazon says it will announce its second headquarters by the end of the year. With less than three months to go, the big reveal could come any day now. As 2018 enters its final quarter, only eight of the 20 finalist cities have released their proposals publicly, and of those, three were heavily redacted or incomplete.

Most finalist cities cited the same two reasons they couldn’t share: that the city had to maintain privacy to keep a competitive advantage, or that outside, often non-public organizations were the actual entities handling the bid process. Those “non-public” groups were usually a local Economic Development Corporation or Chamber of Commerce.

A quarter of Amazon HQ2 finalist cities denied requests for their Amazon HQ2 proposals on claims that proposals are being handled by these offices: AtlantaAustinDenverIndianapolis, and Los Angeles. Denver’s proposal is the only one of these to become publicly available so far.

Chambers of Commerce are associations that promote and advance the interests of local business communities. They and similar private entities are often not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, despite the fact they do receive some federal funding – all Chambers MuckRock filed with between late 2017 and now either said they would not release the bids or did not respond. (read more…)