Lawmakers seek probe into Pentagon contract critics say favors Amazon

Lawmakers seek probe into Pentagon contract critics say favors Amazon
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Two Republican lawmakers are asking the Pentagon's inspector general to investigate the bidding process for a multibillion-dollar Defense Department cloud computing contract, which critics claim is biased toward Amazon.

Reps. Steve WomackStephen (Steve) Allen WomackLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Rubio asks White House to delay B Pentagon contract over Amazon concerns   New CBO report fuels fight over minimum wage MORE (R-Ark.) and Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeBottom Line Trump faces new hit on deficit History in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week MORE (R-Okla.) in a letter dated Monday expressed their concerns about the process behind the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract, which they fear might be “tailored to one specific contractor.”

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They noted that currently the JEDI contract specifies that the vendor who wins it must meet Impact Level 6 requirements to host secret and top-secret data. The lawmakers called the requirement “unnecessary” and noted it can “only be met by one contractor.”

They didn’t specify the contractor, but the only company bidding that meets the requirements is Amazon Web Services.

The duo also expressed concerns about whether the contract bidding requirements violated Pentagon ethics rules.

“It has come to our attention through media reports that individuals who held, or hold, high ranking positions in the Department have significant connections to the specific contractors,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Our understanding is that these individuals, in direct contrast with the federal Acquisition Regulation and DoD Ethics Policy, had involvement in the development of the JEDI program."

The letter is the latest flashpoint over the lucrative $10 billion Pentagon cloud computing contract. Since the start of the bidding process, critics, including many bidding competitors to Amazon, have alleged that the process is biased towards the Seattle-based company.

They say that Amazon lobbyists' connections to the Defense Department helped craft a contract tailor-made for the company and that other competitors, including Microsoft and IBM, have no realistic shot of winning.

Amazon did not immediately respond for a request to comment on the letter, but in the past the company has dismissed accusations that it has any sort of inside track in the contracting process.