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Amazon Execs' Use-of-Data Remarks Subject of Congressional Inquiry

A bipartisan group of five House members is questioning Amazon's claims that it doesn't use third-party-seller data for its own private-label offerings.
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Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report shares wavered on Monday after a report said a bipartisan group of congressional representatives questioned whether the company had lied to them under oath.

The group is questioning how Amazon responded to charges that it uses the data of third-party sellers on its site when it creates its private-label products. 

Five members of Congress sent a letter to Chief Executive Andy Jassy, requesting "exculpatory evidence" to corroborate sworn testimony from several of the company's leaders, including former CEO Jeff Bezos, according to the Wall Street Journal..

"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,” the letter stated

The letter was signed by Reps. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island), Ken Buck (R-Colorado), Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), Jerry Nadler (D-New York) and Matt Gaetz (R-Florida).

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It came in response to sworn testimony from the company's leaders provided to the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee in 2019 and 2020.

Amazon told the subcommittee that it did not use the data from individual third-party sellers. But reporting by the Journal and other media outlets suggests that those statements are false, the letter said, according to the Journal. 

An Amazon spokesperson told the Journal that the company and its executives did not mislead the committee and that the company has "denied and sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question."

Amazon shares on Monday closed 1.1% higher at $3,446.74

Separately, Amazon on Monday said it planned to hire 150,000 workers heading into the holiday season, with wages as high as $21 an hour, amid one of the most severe labor shortages in U.S. history.