House Judiciary Committee Calls On Amazon’s Bezos To Testify
BY ALANA WISE
Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee have called on Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to address potentially “misleading, and possibly criminally false or perjurious” statements the company made in an earlier testimony about its competitive practices.
Committee members threatened to subpoena the billionaire businessman if he did not voluntarily submit to questioning on whether Amazon uses information about independent vendors to create competing goods, contradicting sworn testimony by the company last year.
In a letter signed by a bipartisan group of committee members, lawmakers cited an April 23 story from the Wall Street Journal that claims Amazon routinely used proprietary data from third-party sellers to create its own rival products.
“If these allegations are true, then Amazon exploited its role as the largest online marketplace in the U.S. to appropriate the sensitive commercial data of individual marketplace sellers and then used that data to compete directly with those sellers,” the letter reads.
The letter also asserts: “If true, these allegations contradict previous testimony and written responses that Amazon submitted to the Committee. For example, at our hearing on July 16, 2019, Representative Pramila Jayapal asked about Amazon’s use of third-party seller data, and Nate Sutton, Amazon’s Associate General Counsel, responded that ‘we do not use any seller data to compete with them.'” The letter notes that in a follow-up from another member of the panel and in written responses, Amazon repeated the same answer.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request from NPR for comment.
The letter was signed by committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., Subcommittee Ranking Member F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., Subcommittee Vice Chairman Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Representative Ken Buck, R-Colo., and Representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.