HomeNewsAmazon Referred to DOJ for Investigation Into ‘Misleading’ Congress

Amazon Referred to DOJ for Investigation Into ‘Misleading’ Congress

by Amy Myers
(Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

The Department of Justice is conducting an investigation into Amazon’s top brass following allegations that the company misled Congress. According to a key group of bipartisan lawmakers, executives engaged in “misleading conduct” with the intent to “influence, obstruct, or impede” the investigation that would determine whether the company used its e-commerce capacity to knock out other competition. 

The Highlights

  • Amazon executives previously swore under oath to not using third party data to enhance its own products
  • Congress members are calling upon the DOJ to launch an investigation
  • The company claims that this use of third party data is forbidden

Originally, the probe looked into whether Amazon used data from third-party sellers to develop its own private line of products. Previously, founder Jeff Bezos said that was against the company’s rules during his under-oath testimony to Congress in 2020. Just last year, Reuters released a report that demonstrated otherwise.

Now, the group of accusing lawmakers released a joint statement regarding the allegations.

“Throughout the investigation and in follow-up inquiries, senior executives at Amazon engaged in a pattern and practice of misleading behavior before the Committee,” the group of lawmakers including Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), David Cicilline (D-RI) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said, per New York Post. “That is why we are referring this matter to the Department of Justice to investigate whether Amazon obstructed Congress or violated other federal laws.”

As a result, the group called upon the DOJ to conduct an investigation into Amazon and its top executives. Additionally, lawmakers expressed concern that the search results could give the company’s private products an unfair advantage over others.

Amazon Representatives Respond to Congress and DOJ Investigation

Meanwhile, Amazon executives have stated that these claims from Congress don’t hold any water.

“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 said.

The Wall Street Journal stated that the company forbids the use of third-party data to enhance its products. According to the outlet, Amazon also conducts its own investigations into any potential concerns for misconduct.

This isn’t the Congress members’ first request for an investigation into Amazon executives, either. Back in October, the same group of lawmakers released a similar statement to the letter sent Wednesday. This previous statement called up the company’s top brass to respond to the allegations.

“We strongly encourage you to make use of this opportunity to correct the record and provide the Committee with sworn, truthful, and accurate responses to this request as we consider whether a referral of this matter to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation is appropriate,” wrote the legislators, who also included Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Calif.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). 

However, Amazon chose not to speak on the matter.

“The Committee extended multiple opportunities for Amazon to clarify these misconceptions, yet executives continued to thwart our efforts to uncover the truth about their business practices,” the members of Congress said. “Amazon and its executives must be held accountable for this behavior.”