May 30, 2020

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Amazon declines to commit to Jeff Bezos testimony in Congress

Amazon declines to commit to Jeff Bezos testimony in Congress


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on October 02, 2019.

Elif Ozturk | Anadolu Company | Getty Illustrations or photos

Amazon said Friday it will “make the correct government available” to testify in advance of the Property Judiciary Committee on the company’s aggressive techniques, but stopped short of generating its CEO Jeff Bezos accessible like committee users asked for. 

Previously this thirty day period, the committee compelled Bezos to testify following Democratic leaders said they suspected Amazon of lying to Congress. Prime Democrats on the commitee explained they suspected Amazon of lying to Congress above its private label strategy, after a current Wall Road Journal report on the firm’s use of 3rd-celebration vendor info appeared to contradict an Amazon executive’s former testimony on its therapy of sellers. 

The committee also threatened to subpoena Bezos if he did not comply. 

In a response to the committee on Friday, Amazon’s vice president of community coverage, Brian Huseman, reported the enterprise appreciates the chance to “handle the challenges” elevated in the committee’s letter. But Amazon’s response doesn’t condition it will make Bezos offered for testimony.

“We disagree strongly with any suggestion that we have tried to mislead the Committee or not been cooperative with the investigation,” Huseman reported. “While our teams continue to be heads down all around the clock centered on defending the wellbeing and basic safety of our employees though continuing to serve prospects for the duration of the world pandemic, we stay prepared to make the acceptable Amazon govt obtainable to the Committee to address these critical concerns.”

When questioned no matter whether Amazon will send Bezos to testify, an Amazon spokesperson referred again to Huseman’s letter.

Bezos is the only CEO of the large four tech companies — Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook — who has by no means in advance of testified in entrance of Congress. The corporation has confronted scrutiny in excess of the earlier yr as lawmakers and regulators assess concerns of privateness and dominance between tech firms.

The Property Antitrust Subcommittee is now probing Amazon and a few of its peers on antitrust grounds. Amazon also faces a probe by the Federal Trade Fee, in accordance to Bloomberg.

The Journal investigation located Amazon personnel applied nonaggregated or quickly identifiable data from 3rd-social gathering sellers to determine out which products and solutions to make on its personal. The report was based mostly on interviews with much more than 20 previous Amazon staff and files reviewed by the Journal. 

The report appeared to contradict testimony by Amazon’s associate typical counsel Nate Sutton at a July hearing, during which he denied that personal vendor data is utilized to manipulate lookup algorithms to favor Amazon’s possess products and solutions, or in any other way to directly compete with retailers. 

Amazon mentioned it has been “performing with the committee in fantastic religion” for nearly a 12 months to deliver information on its vendor techniques, as perfectly as to remedy the committee’s questions about the report from the Journal. The enterprise has also initiated its possess investigation into the conclusions from the Journal and claimed it will share the results of its probe with the committee. 

Dwelling Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline, D-R.I., who was a person of the signatories of the letter sent to Amazon, reiterated the committee’s place that they’d subpoena Bezos to appear if he chose not to.

“No 1 is higher than the regulation, no make any difference how rich or effective,” Cicilline explained in a assertion. “We have asked Mr. Bezos to testify just before the U.S. Congress about Amazon’s troubling business enterprise techniques and wrong statements, and we count on him to do so. No matter if he does so voluntarily or by subpoena is his choice.”

— CNBC’s Lauren Feiner contributed to this report. 



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