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Congress Requests DOJ Investigate Amazon For Alleged ‘Criminal Conduct’

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Bipartisan members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday requesting an investigation into Amazon for alleged criminal obstruction of the committee’s probe into the tech giant.

The letter, sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland, alleged Amazon misled committee members and engaged in “potentially criminal conduct” during a 15-month investigation into competition in digital markets. The letter was signed by House Judiciary Committee Chair Democratic New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, Democratic Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, Republican Colorado Rep. Ken Buck, Democratic Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.

“Without producing any evidence to the contrary, Amazon has left standing what appear to be false and misleading statements to the Committee,” the lawmakers wrote. “It has refused to turn over business documents or communications that would either corroborate its claims or correct the record.”(RELATED: Jim Jordan Promises To Create Subcommittee To Investigate Justice Department, Big Tech If Republicans Win Majority)

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) questions U.S. Attorney General William Barr during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. In his first congressional testimony in more than a year, Barr faced questions from the committee about his deployment of federal law enforcement agents to Portland, Oregon, and other cities in response to Black Lives Matter protests; his role in using federal agents to violently clear protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House last month before a photo opportunity for President Donald Trump in front of a church; his intervention in court cases involving Trump's allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn; and other issues. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) questions U.S. Attorney General William Barr during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“As a result, we have no choice but to refer this matter to the Department of Justice to investigate whether Amazon and its executives obstructed Congress in violation of applicable federal law,” the lawmakers said.

In particular, the lawmakers alleged Amazon lied to members of Congress regarding its practice of collecting data on competitors using its platform in order to create imitations of their products. The lawmakers also alleged Amazon misled members of Congress about its manipulation of search results.

In addition to the alleged lies, the lawmakers also accused Amazon of failing to provide documents and information sought during the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee’s investigation into competition in digital markets.

“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 told the Daily Caller News Foundation when reached for comment on the referral.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from an Amazon spokesperson.

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