Top members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy on Monday questioning whether the tech company’s executives lied under oath to Congress.
The letter, sent by a bipartisan group of lawmakers including House Judiciary Committee Chair Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York and House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee Ranking Member Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, referred to Wednesday reporting from Reuters stating that Amazon used its online marketplace to collect data on competitors and manufacture imitations of their products, prioritizing its imitations over competitors’ products in search results. The lawmakers also cited a Thursday investigation by The Markup which found that Amazon provided its “brands” better search result locations than those awarded to competitors with better ratings and reviews.
The lawmakers alleged this reporting “directly contradicts” sworn testimony from Amazon executives including former chief executive Jeff Bezos.
“At best, this reporting confirms that Amazon’s representatives misled the Committee,” the lawmakers wrote. “At worst, it demonstrates that they may have lied to Congress in possible violation of federal criminal law.”
Amazon Associate General Counsel Nate Sutton testified in July 2019 on behalf of his employer that “we do not use any seller data” to compete with third-party sellers or “use any of that specific seller data in creating our own private brand products,” maintaining that the company did not defer to its own products over those of other companies in search results. Jeff Bezos himself testified in July 2020 that Amazon has a policy in place not to use seller-specific data to develop competing products.
“In light of the serious nature of this matter, we are providing you with a final opportunity to provide exculpatory evidence to corroborate the prior testimony and statements on behalf of Amazon to the Committee,” the letter read.
An Amazon spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that the reporting on which the lawmakers based their allegations of perjury were “factually incorrect” and that the company “denied and sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question.” Amazon did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
The lawmakers requested that the tech giant provide a sworn response explaining its policies regarding collecting data on third-party sellers in addition to all of the documents referred to by Reuters and The Markup in their investigations.
The letter was signed by Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler, David Cicilline and Pramila Jayapal and Republican Reps. Ken Buck and Matt Gaetz.
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