“Of course, we will need to resolve a number of questions regarding timing, format, and outstanding document production issues, all necessarily framed by the extraordinary demands of the global pandemic,” Amazon lawyers said in a letter sent Sunday and later obtained by The Post. “In addition, we think it bears emphasizing that other senior executives now run the businesses that are the actual subject of the Committee’s investigation.”
Amazon confirmed Bezos’s position Monday, without providing further detail, and a spokesman for Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), the leader of the House’s antitrust subcommittee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bezos owns The Washington Post.
Lawmakers also have asked Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to join Bezos and testify at an upcoming hearing, a potentially high-profile gathering that is supposed to cap off more than a year of work by the House committee to study Silicon Valley for potential antitrust violations. It is unclear if those companies have agreed to dispatch their top executives, and all three did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
For Bezos, such a hearing would mark his first-ever appearance in front of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. It comes at a time when members of Congress have expressed anger over reports that Amazon employees tapped data from third-party sellers in the company’s marketplace to make decisions about launching its own competing products. Company executives told Democrats and Republicans that it did not engage in such practices.
The lawmakers’ inquiry coincides with a probe into Amazon by the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. competition watchdog agency, which is reviewing whether the e-commerce giant violated antitrust laws. In Europe, meanwhile, regulators as soon as this week are expected to issue charges against Amazon over its harnessing of third-party sellers’ data.