Group of Bipartisan Lawmakers Claims Amazon May Have Lied to Congress

Bezos, world's richest man, shows won't be pushed around
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In a recent letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, five members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee allege that the company’s top executives including founder Jeff Bezos misled or possibly lied to Congress about Amazon’s business practices.

In a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, five members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee including the committee’s chairman, Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and four members of the antitrust subcommittee, David Cicilline (D-RI), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Ken Buck (R-CO), and Matt Gaetz (R-FL), claim that Amazon’s top executives including company founder Jeff Bezos either mislead Congress or lied about Amazon’s business practices.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy (Isaac Brekken/AP)

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks during testimony by constitutional scholars before the House Judiciary Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. This is the first hearing held by the Judiciary Committee in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, whom House Democrats say held back military aid for Ukraine while demanding it investigate his political rivals. The Judiciary Committee will decide whether to draft official articles of impeachment against President Trump to be voted on by the full House of Representatives. (Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks during testimony by constitutional scholars before the House Judiciary Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

The letter states that the committee is considering “whether a referral of this matter to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation is appropriate.” The letter comes shortly after an investigation by Reuters that showed that Amazon conducted a systematic campaign of copying products and altering search results in India to favor its own brands and products. 

The letter states that “credible reporting” from Reuters and articles in several other news outlets “directly contradicts the sworn testimony and representations of Amazon’s top executives – including former CEO Jeffrey Bezos.”

The letter adds: “At best, this reporting confirms that Amazon’s representatives misled the Committee. At worst, it demonstrates that they may have lied to Congress in possible violation of federal criminal law.”

An Amazon spokesperson responded, stating:

Amazon and its executives did not mislead the committee, and we have denied and sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question.

As we have previously stated, we have an internal policy, which goes beyond that of any other retailer’s policy that we’re aware of, that prohibits the use of individual seller data to develop Amazon private label products. We investigate any allegations that this policy may have been violated and take appropriate action.

The lawmakers have given Jassy “a final opportunity” to provide them with evidence that backs up the company’s previous testimony and statements. The letter noted that “it is criminally illegal to knowingly and willfully make statements that are materially false, conceal a material fact, or otherwise provide false documentation in response to a congressional investigation.”

The letter gives Jassy until November 1 to provide a sworn response that clarifies “how Amazon uses non-public individual seller data to develop and market its own line of products.”

The letter from the lawmakers states: “We strongly encourage you to make use of this opportunity to correct the record and provide the Committee with sworn, truthful, and accurate responses to this request as we consider whether a referral of this matter to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation is appropriate.”

Read more at Reuters here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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