Amazon previously told the Journal that they were investigating internal allegations and that employees who were caught using individual seller data would violate company policy.
“Like other retailers, we look at sales and store data to give our customers the best experience,” Amazon told the Journal. “However, we strictly forbid our employees to use non-public, vendor-specific data to determine which private label products to launch.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to CNN Business’s request to comment on the letter.
The letter highlights the increasing risk for Amazon in Washington, where policy makers are increasingly focusing on the company’s relationship with independent sellers in its market as part of a broader focus on antitrust issues. And that underscores how Amazon’s vital role in delivering goods to consumers during this pandemic also makes it a subject of greater research by skeptical politicians.
“If the reporting in the Wall Street Journal article is accurate, then statements made by Amazon to the Committee about the company’s business practices appear to be misleading, and may be criminally false or false,” the lawmaker wrote.
The letter threatened to force Bezos to testify if necessary. It was signed by the Chair of the House of Justice Committee Jerry Nadler, as well as Rep. David Cicilline, who heads the antitrust panel subcommittee and leads the antitrust investigation of the technology industry.
The letter also blamed Amazon for what the lawmaker said was a failure to cooperate fairly quickly with antitrust investigations, and said Amazon “did not make adequate production” of evidence in response to the committee’s request.
Allegations of misuse of individual seller data have raised competitive concerns because of the potential to give Amazon an unfair advantage in the markets it controls. Critics such as Senator Elizabeth Warren have used the analogy of baseball to describe Amazon, arguing that it is the referee and team owner and implying that Amazon can misuse its position for illegal profits.
Bezos’s relationship with the nation’s capital has developed significantly. After buying a home in the area and announcing that the region will host the Amazon’s new headquarters, Bezos has stepped up his involvement with the Trump administration, often talking to the White House in the middle of a pandemic.