Amazon says it will pick 'the appropriate Amazon executive' in response to House threat to subpoena Bezos

Amazon says it will pick 'the appropriate Amazon executive' in response to House threat to subpoena Bezos
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Amazon said it will make an “appropriate” executive available to testify before Congress over concerns regarding its antitrust practices but notably did not commit to making CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosHearing for Twitter hack suspect Zoom-bombed by porn, rap music Five takeaways from Big Tech's blowout earnings Hillicon Valley: Trump raises idea of delaying election, faces swift bipartisan pushback | Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google release earnings reports | Senators ask Justice Department to investigate TikTok, Zoom MORE available to the chamber.

The battle over Bezos’s testimony has been the centerpiece of the showdown between the tech behemoth and the House Judiciary Committee, which has panned Amazon over reports that it used data obtained from sellers on its platform to launch competing products against those firms.

“We appreciate the opportunity to address questions about Amazon’s policy on seller data, which, like other retailers, we use to improve the customer experience in our stores,” Amazon wrote in a letter to the panel. “We disagree strongly with any suggestion that we have attempted to mislead the Committee or not been cooperative with the investigation.

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“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," it added.

Bipartisan members of the Judiciary Committee have clamored for Bezos’s testimony over the reports, which would appear to contradict commitments made by his company that it would not use data it gleans from sellers to seek an advantage. Leaders of the panel have threatened to subpoena Bezos, and Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineFive takeaways from Big Tech's blowout earnings What factors will shape Big Tech regulation? Hillicon Valley: House panel grills tech CEOs during much anticipated antitrust hearing | TikTok to make code public as it pushes back against 'misinformation' | House Intel panel expands access to foreign disinformation evidence MORE (D-R.I.), who chairs the panel's antitrust subcommittee, said he’s mulling a perjury referral for the company. 

“This is unacceptable. Members from both parties have serious questions about Amazon’s business practices and its honesty with the Committee. We will not permit stonewalling of our investigation, by Jeff Bezos or anyone,” Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBy questioning Barr, Democrats unmasked their policy of betrayal Chris Wallace: Barr hearing 'an embarrassment' for Democrats: 'Just wanted to excoriate him' Apple posts blowout third quarter MORE (D-N.Y.), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, tweeted. 

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“No one is above the law, no matter how rich or powerful,” Cicilline added. “We have asked Mr. Bezos to testify before the US 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.” 

The standoff comes at a time of heightened scrutiny over Amazon, which has faced criticism from lawmakers that it is not offering its warehouse workers enough virus protections in the midst of the pandemic even as its sales soar.