House Judiciary Committee Refers Amazon Execs To DOJ For Criminal Activity

In a bipartisan move, the House Judiciary Committee has referred Amazon executives to the DOJ for obstructing its investigation.

The Judiciary Committee said in a statement provided to PoliticusUSA:

Today, bipartisan Members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland to alert the Department of Justice to potentially criminal conduct by Amazon and its senior executives. The letter explains how Amazon has engaged in a “pattern and practice” of misleading conduct that appeared designed to “influence, obstruct, or impede” the Committee’s 16-month investigation into competition in digital markets:

  • In testimony before the Committee, a senior Amazon official represented that Amazon does not use the data it collects on its third-party sellers to compete with them and does not list its products before third-party products in customer search results. Credible investigative reporting demonstrated the opposite.
  • Amazon attempted to clean up the inaccurate testimony through ever-shifting explanations of its internal policies and denials of the investigative reports. It described the reports as based on “key misunderstandings and speculation” that led to “inaccurate conclusions.” The Committee uncovered evidence from former Amazon employees and former and current sellers that corroborated the reports’ claims.
  • The Committee gave Amazon multiple opportunities to correct the record, but Amazon refused to turn over any business documents or communications that would corroborate its claims or correct the record. Amazon instead wrote letters describing how its policies are supposed to work in theory. When it came to the relevant question of how those policies worked in practice, Amazon refused to provide any relevant specifics, such as internal audits or investigations.

The House Judiciary Committee has accused Amazon executives of refusing to provide documents and information while offering misleading testimony.

The Judiciary Committee is investigating Amazon for digital market manipulation. Amazon is accused of using data it compiles on third-party sellers on its platform to undercut them.

Big tech companies whether it is Facebook, Amazon, or Google, have come under increasing scrutiny for using their size to manipulate markets and stifle competition.

If Amazon attempted to obstruct the Judiciary Committee, the DOJ could criminally charge company executives.