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Republicans urge probe into Amazon government cloud-computing bid: report

Republicans urge probe into Amazon government cloud-computing bid: report
© Bonnie Cash

Two Republican lawmakers are urging the Justice Department to investigate the Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) procurement process over allegations that Amazon improperly tried to influence the bid process.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Energy: Colonial Pipeline says it has restored full service | Biden urges people not to panic about gasoline shortages | EPA rescinds Trump-era cost-benefit rule Senate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick Hillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech MORE (R-Utah) and Rep. Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckSpace Force commander removed after comments on podcast GOP votes to replace Cheney with Stefanik after backing from Trump Cheney to any Trump-backed challenger: 'Bring it on' MORE (R-Colo.) signed a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick Garland'Tiger King' seeking presidential pardon from Biden Capitol riot fuels debate over domestic terror laws Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo MORE urging him to probe alleged conflicts of interest that arose during the process, which concluded with Amazon's rival Microsoft obtaining the contract for cloud-computing software.

Their letter specifically points to undisclosed payments between an Amazon consultant and a current Defense Department official, as well as a former consultant for Amazon “playing an integral role in drafting directives regarding the Department’s cloud acquisition strategy” at the Department of Defense despite being instructed to not work on anything involving their former company.

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An Amazon Web Services spokesperson rejected the lawmakers' claims as baseless in a statement to The Hill.

"These are the same false, tired, and meritless allegations that have been repeatedly rejected by every independent review -- from federal courts, to the GAO, to the DoD IG. This is nothing more than an attempt by certain less capable AWS competitors to distract from the fact that by every objective measure AWS provides its customers with superior technology, more secure and reliable services, and deeper experience supporting classified government workloads," said the spokesperson.

The company has previously accused the Trump administration of unfairly steering the JEDI contract to Microsoft due to former President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE's frequent criticism of the company and its CEO, Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosOn The Money: IRS to start monthly payments of child tax credit July 15 | One-fourth of Americans took financial hits in 2020: Fed Pro-tax millionaires protesting in front of Bezos's homes Musk's SpaceX has a competitive advantage over Bezos' Blue Origin MORE. The Trump administration denied those charges.

A court declined to dismiss Amazon's lawsuit in that case last week, while a Microsoft spokesperson defended the process as above-board.

“Not once, but twice, professional procurement staff at the DoD chose Microsoft after a thorough review. ... We’ve continued for more than a year to do the internal work necessary to move forward on JEDI quickly, and we continue to work with DoD,” said the spokesperson.

--Updated at 6:20 p.m.