Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Amazon wants Leena Khan to recuse herself from antitrust investigation

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Amazon said it wants the new head of the Federal Trade Commission to recuse itself from any antitrust investigations into the e-commerce giant, arguing that its past criticisms of the company show it should treat it fairly. can’t.

Leena Khan, a 32-year-old legal prodigy who was confirmed as head of the FTC only two weeks ago, is reportedly investigating the company’s $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM Studios.

Before becoming FTC chief, Khan had written widely on mistrust and Amazon in both the legal and popular media. For example, in a 2014 Quartz op-ed, Khan wrote That “Amazon has a monopoly in the books” and “a dominant position in our economy”. Yale Law Journal in 2017 Article, she pointed to “the competing aspects of Amazon’s struggle and conduct.”

In a 25-page motion that Amazon filed with the FTC on Wednesday, the company pointed to these articles and others as examples of Khan’s alleged inability to treat the company fairly.

“Given its long track record of detailed announcements about Amazon, and its repeated declarations that Amazon has violated antitrust laws, a reasonable observer would conclude that it is no longer open-minded to antitrust the company.” Cannot consider defense,” wrote Jeff Bezos in the proposal, the billionaire-headed company.

The FTC is reportedly investigating Amazon's acquisition of film and television studio MGM.
The FTC is reportedly investigating Amazon’s acquisition of film and television studio MGM.
Alamy Stock Photo

Amazon argued that federal ethics principles require commissioners to recuse themselves when they have “views expressed that go beyond general policy commentary” and pertain to specific companies.

An FTC spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

An investigation into Khan’s report into Amazon’s MGM acquisition received a boost on Wednesday when Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) sent a letter to the FTC president calling for a “careful antitrust investigation” of the transaction.

“A reasonable observer would conclude that it can no longer consider the Company’s antitrust defense with an open mind,” Amazon said.
Washington Post via Getty Im

The Amazon proposal did not specifically mention MGM, but instead asked the chair to dissociate itself from all matters involving the company.

In addition to the FTC’s alleged investigation of the MGM deal, Amazon is taking heat from Congress. Last week, a bill that could force big tech companies to sell many of their business lines was passed by the House Judiciary Committee.

The FTC’s efforts to rein in Facebook, another big tech company, suffered a major setback on Monday when a federal judge dismissed an antitrust lawsuit filed by the agency.

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