Jonathan Johnson’s Two Political Missions

Reuters interviews Overstock chairman Jonathan Johnson about his upcoming bid to oust Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, and his efforts to lobby Congress to simplify state laws surrounding the taxation of online sales.

Reports Alina Selyukh:

Johnson’s call for federal help on tax is in contrast with his personal campaign to oust Utah Governor Gary Herbert in next year’s elections.

A Republican who favors small government, Johnson says that as governor, he would curb Utah’s wasteful spending and its unnecessary reliance on the federal government, particularly for stewardship of two-thirds of the state’s lands.

But on the issue of Internet sales taxes, Johson notes that the Constitution expressly grants Congress the authority to regulate interstate commerce, and says if lawmakers set new rules, Overstock should be part of the negotiation.

“We’ve gone from not wanting a federal solution to realizing there’s a patchwork of laws that just makes it hard to do business,” he said in an interview, adding that if a bad bill passed, “it’s an existential risk to the company.”