The Justice Department received a letter on Wednesday from a bipartisan group of legislators asking it to begin an investigation into Amazon and its executives for possible criminal obstruction of Congress. When lawmakers inquired about private-label methods and third-party data collecting, the organisation claims Amazon engaged in “a pattern and practise of misleading conduct.”
Amazon is being investigated by the Department of Justice over allegations of criminal obstruction of Congress, according to a House committee.
Amazon has been accused by a bipartisan group of congressmen of misleading the House Judiciary Committee during a 16-month investigation into the competitive practises of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook.
Members of Congress have focused their attention on Amazon’s private-label operations and its gathering of data from third-party sellers. Members of the House Committee have accused Amazon of making false and misleading representations to them, then refusing to provide information that would “either support its allegations or amend the record.”
To benefit its own private-label business, it appears to have concealed the truth about its use of third-party sellers’ data and its preference for private-label products in search results, according to the letter, which was signed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. and House Antitrust Subcommittee chair David Cicilline, D-R.I.
Amazon and its executives may have obstructed Congress in violation of applicable federal law, the letter stated. “Therefore, we have no choice but to bring this matter to the Department of Justice for investigation.”
“There’s no factual foundation for this, as proven in the large volume of information we’ve provided over multiple years of good faith cooperation with this investigation,” an Amazon spokeswoman told CNBC in a statement. “
An Amazon executive testified in favour of the company’s procedures during the investigation, which was conducted by the SEC. It was revealed in July 2019 by an Amazon executive that the corporation doesn’t utilise individual seller data to guide its strategy but maintains the use of aggregated data.
According to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the company has a policy to protect seller data from employee access, but he could not promise that the policy has never been broken.
As a result, lawmakers cited “reliable investigative reporting” from Reuters and others that contradicted testimony from Amazon executives like Jeff Bezos. Former Amazon employees and current and former vendors provided comparable evidence to the committee’s research, the committee wrote in a letter.
It’s a common refrain from lawmakers that Amazon lied to Congress during the congressional hearings. Amazon has denied in the past that it misled the committee and its executives.
“Amazon attempted to cover up its falsehood by presenting ever-shifting interpretations” of its seller data policy as the committee conducted its probe, they claimed. Then, Amazon “stonewalled” any further investigation of the company’s actions.