May 28, 2022
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House committee makes allegations of potential 'criminal conduct' by Amazon

House committee makes allegations of potential ‘criminal conduct’ by Amazon

The House Judiciary Committee wrote to Legal professional Normal Merrick Garland alerting him of potential “criminal conduct by Amazon and certain of its executives,” in a letter written by members of the committee and obtained by ABC Information.

The judiciary committee, led by Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline, alleges Amazon lied to Congress over whether or not it used information it collected from third-party sellers.

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“Throughout the course of the Committee’s investigation, Amazon attempted to cover up its lie by offering ever-shifting explanations of what it called its ‘Seller Data Protection Policy,'” the letter says. “Among other things, in written statements to the Committee, Amazon made a distinction between the “particular person” seller data that Amazon supposedly protected and the “aggregated” seller data that its private-label business could use.”

Amazon additionally allegedly lied to Congress about manipulating customers’ search outcomes, in keeping with the committee.

“After Amazon was caught in a lie and repeated misrepresentations, it stonewalled the Committee’s efforts to uncover the truth. The Committee gave Amazon a final opportunity to provide evidence either correcting the record or corroborating the representations it had made to the Committee under oath and in written statements,” the letter says. “Instead of taking advantage of this opportunity to provide clarity, however, Amazon offered conclusory denials of adverse facts. In a November 1, 2021 communication to the Committee, a senior Amazon official dismissed the reports as inaccurate, attributing them to ‘key misunderstandings and speculation.'”

The judiciary committee additional accused Amazon of refusing to show over any paperwork associated to the investigation they declare to have run on the manipulation of client search outcomes.

The bipartisan letter additionally claims Amazon obstructed a congressional investigation.

“Amazon and its executives appear to have been “appearing with an improper function” “to affect, hinder, or impede . . . the due and correct train of the facility of inquiry below which any inquiry or investigation is being had,” the letter says. “Amazon has declined a number of alternatives to display with credible proof that it made correct and full representations to the Committee throughout the Committee’s digital-markets investigation. The Committee’s findings and credible investigative experiences recommend that Amazon’s representations had been deceptive and incomplete. And Amazon’s failure to right or corroborate these representations means that Amazon and its executives have acted deliberately to improperly affect, hinder, or impede the Committee’s investigation and inquiries.”

All of these causes, the letter says, quantity to sufficient substance for a Justice Division referral “to investigate whether Amazon or its executives obstructed Congress or violated other applicable federal laws.”

“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,” an Amazon spokesperson advised ABC Information.

A Justice Division spokesperson mentioned the division has obtained the letter and can evaluation it.

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