Amazon Refuses to Commit Jeff Bezos to Congressional Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, introduces a new lunar landing module called Blue Moon during an event at the Washington Convention Center, May 9, 2019 in Washington, DC. Bezos said the module will be used to land humans the moon once again. (Photo by …
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E-commerce giant Amazon reportedly refuses to make company CEO Jeff Bezos available for testimony in Congress, instead stating that it would “make the appropriate executive available” in response to requests from the House Judiciary Committee.

CNBC reports that Amazon stated on Friday that it will “make the appropriate executive available” to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in relation to the e-commerce giant’s competitive practices but did not promise to make the firm’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, available as committee members requested.

The House Judiciary Committee compelled Bezos to testify earlier this month after Democratic leaders stated that they suspected Amazon of lying to Congress over its private label strategy after a recent report from the Wall Street Journal on the company’s use of third-party seller data appeared to contradict previous testimony from Amazon executives.

The committee has threatened to subpoena Bezos if he does not comply. On Friday, Amazon’s vice preside of public policy, Brian Huseman, stated that the firm appreciates the opportunity to “address the issues” raised in the committee’s letter.

“We disagree strongly with any suggestion that we have attempted to mislead the Committee or not been cooperative with the investigation,” Huseman said. “While our teams remain heads down around the clock focused on protecting the health and safety of our employees while continuing to serve customers during the global pandemic, we remain prepared to make the appropriate Amazon executive available to the Committee to address these important issues.”

Currently, Bezos is the only CEO of the four major tech firms, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook, to not testify before Congress. The House Antitrust Subcommittee is probing Amazon and three of its peers currently on antitrust grounds. Amazon is also facing a probe by the Federal Trade Commission.

The report from the WSJ stated that Amazon employees used nonaggregated or easily identifiable data from third-party sellers to figure out which products to make their own versions of. The report was based on interviews with more than 20 former Amazon employees and documents reviewed by the WSJ.

The report further appeared to contradict testimony by Amazon’s associate general counsel Nate Sutton at a July hearing during which he denied that individual seller data is used to manipulate search algorithms to favor Amazon’s products.
Amazon claims that it has been “working with the committee in good faith” for almost a year to provide information on its practices to answer the committee’s questions.

House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-RI) commented: “No one is above the law, no matter how rich or powerful. We have asked Mr. Bezos to testify before the U.S. Congress about Amazon’s troubling business practices and false statements, and we expect him to do so. Whether he does so voluntarily or by subpoena is his choice.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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