House panel refers Amazon to DOJ for potential obstruction of justice

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Bipartisan members of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday referred Amazon to the Department of Justice, saying it sought to stymie their investigation into competition within the tech industry.

In a 24-page letter, the lawmakers accused the company of misleading and stonewalling the committee.

“Without producing any evidence to the contrary, Amazon has left standing what appear to be false and misleading statements to the Committee. It has refused to turn over business documents or communications that would either corroborate its claims or correct the record,” the members wrote. 

The lawmakers said Amazon lied and attempted to block the investigation in an effort to “conceal the truth” about how the company uses third-party sellers’ data to help boost its own products in its own search results.

So-called self-preferencing practices are part of the antitrust subcommittee’s focus as lawmakers try to push forward proposals to revamp competition laws. The new rules would in part ban tech giants like Amazon from using their platforms to boost their own products above others’. 

“As a result, we have no choice but to refer this matter to the Department of Justice to investigate whether Amazon and its executives obstructed Congress in violation of applicable federal law,” the lawmakers added. 

The letter is signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), antitrust subcommittee Chair David Cicilline (D-R.I.), subcommittee ranking member Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). 

An Amazon spokesperson pushed back on the accusation. 

“There’s no factual basis for this, as demonstrated in the huge volume of information we’ve provided over several years of good faith cooperation with this investigation,” the spokesperson said in a statement. 

Tags Amazon antitrust David Cicilline Jerrold Nadler Jerry Nadler Ken Buck Matt Gaetz Pramila Jayapal

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