Matt Stoller: Amazon’s Bezos likely lied under oath before Congress

Matt Stoller, an author and former advisor to the Senate Budget Committee, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos likely lied under oath before Congress during hearings in 2019 and 2020.

During sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee, Bezos and other Amazon executives denied that the company uses third-party sellers’ data to better position in-house brands in search results.

“It seems pretty obvious that they were lying,” Stoller, author of the 2019 book Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy, told Ryan Grim on Hill.TV’s Rising. 

A bipartisan group of five members of Congress sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy on Oct. 17 asking for “exculpatory evidence” to substantiate Bezos’ testimony. 

The letter, signed by David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), was first reported by the Wall Street Journal Oct. 18.

The letter said the committee is considering referring Bezos to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution for perjury. 

“It’s not particularly common to take people to court for perjuring themselves before Congress, so we’ll see what happens,” Stoller added. 

And Stoller added it’s unclear whether “self-preferencing,” the practice Bezos was pressed on, violates antitrust law.

“Right now, It’s an open question,” Stoller said. “Antitrust law, a lot of it has to do with consumer price. Amazon could say ‘Well self-preferencing is fine because we’re offering better products and services for a cheaper price.’”

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