Amazon might have lied to Congress, bipartisan group of lawmakers say

2021-10-18 23:40:20

The lawmakers, members of the Home Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, cited current media studies that forged doubt on testimony offered by Amazon (AMZN) senior executives about how the corporate makes use of its huge affect to assist its personal manufacturers.
“At greatest, this reporting confirms that Amazon’s representatives misled the committee,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. “At worst, it demonstrates that they might have lied to Congress in attainable violation of federal prison regulation.”
The letter, first reported by The Wall Road Journal, was signed by Democrat Reps. Pramila Jaypal, David Cicilline and Jerrold Nadler in addition to Republican Reps. Ken Buck and Matt Gaetz.

The lawmakers mentioned they’re giving Amazon a “last alternative to supply exculpatory proof” to corroborate the earlier testimony and statements on behalf of Amazon to the committee.

Amazon executives have beforehand advised lawmakers that the corporate does not use the info from particular person third-party sellers to tell the event of its personal personal model merchandise.

“We strongly encourage you to utilize this chance to appropriate the report and supply the committee with sworn, truthful, and correct responses to this request as we take into account whether or not a referral of this matter to the Division of Justice for prison investigation is acceptable,” the letter mentioned.

The letter cited testimony given in 2019 and 2020 by founder Bezos, affiliate common counsel Nate Sutton and written remarks offered by common counsel David Zapolsky and vp for public coverage Brian Huseman.

‘Incorrect and unsubstantiated’

In an announcement, Amazon defended its executives’ testimony to Congress.

“Amazon and its executives didn’t mislead the committee, and we’ve denied and sought to appropriate the report on the incorrect media articles in query,” an Amazon spokesperson mentioned in an announcement.

The lawmakers pointed to a Reuters investigation that used a trove of inside Amazon paperwork to indicate how the corporate ran a “systematic marketing campaign of making knockoffs and manipulating search outcomes” to assist its personal product strains in India, one in all its largest progress markets. The report discovered Amazon’s personal manufacturers in India exploited inside knowledge to repeat merchandise offered by different corporations after which supply them on the Amazon platform.

Amazon has known as this Reuters report “incorrect and unsubstantiated” and reiterated that it “doesn’t give preferential therapy to any vendor on its market.”

One other report final week, from The Markup, discovered Amazon “locations merchandise from its home manufacturers and merchandise unique to the location forward of these from opponents — even opponents with greater buyer scores and extra gross sales, judging from the quantity of critiques.”
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Amazon mentioned in response to The Markup report that it doesn’t favor retailer model merchandise by way of search and “strictly prohibits” its workers from utilizing private, seller-specific knowledge to find out which retailer model merchandise to launch.

“We’ve an inside coverage, which matches past that of some other retailer’s coverage that we’re conscious of, that prohibits the usage of particular person vendor knowledge to develop Amazon personal label merchandise,” Amazon mentioned in an announcement. “We examine any allegations that this coverage might have been violated and take applicable motion.”

The strain from members of the Home antitrust subcommittee comes days after Senator Elizabeth Warren doubled down on her name for Amazon to be damaged up. The Massachusetts Democrat advised CNN that Amazon makes use of its energy to “smash little companies earlier than they ever get a foothold” and likened the corporate to a “monster that needs to be fed each minute.”

CNN’s Seth Fiegerman contributed to this report.

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