United States lawmakers asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation into Amazon.com Inc. and some of its executives for allegedly lying to Congress.
“Amazon repeatedly endeavored to thwart the Committee’s efforts to uncover the truth about Amazon’s business practices,” a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House Judiciary Committee wrote Wednesday in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland. “For this, it must be held accountable.”
At issue is testimony Amazon gave during a 16-month congressional investigation into anticompetitive practices by tech giants. Amazon representatives, including then-CEO Jeff Bezos, told Congress the company forbids employees from using data from third-party sellers to compete against them or craft rival products. But a series of media accounts suggested Amazon employees have done just that, or at least found workarounds that render the policy useless.
This isn’t the first time committee members have raised concerns about Amazon’s testimony. Last October, the lawmakers asked Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy to “correct the record” as they considered referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation.
Since then, the company has continued to deny it missuses seller data and refused to turn over business records, the lawmakers wrote. “As a result, we have no choice but to refer this matter to the Department of Justice,” they wrote.
Amazon spokesperson Tina Pelkey responded to the committee’s allegations in an emailed statement.
“There’s no factual basis for this, as demonstrated in the huge volume of information we’ve provided over several years of good-faith cooperation with this investigation,” she wrote.
The DOJ declined to comment.
The letter’s authors include Democrats Jerry Nadler, David Cicilline and Pramila Jayapal, along with Republicans Ken Buck and Matt Gaetz. It doesn’t specify which executives the committee believes should be investigated. The Wall Street Journal reported the letter’s existence earlier.
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