Politico: Why Amazon may have the most to lose from tech’s Hill showdown

July 29, 2020 Media

Jeff Bezos has spent the past five years trying to become a fixture inWashington — hiring President Barack Obama’s press chief, flooding the town with lobbying cash, buying The Washington Post, and even choosing a spot along the Potomac River for Amazon’s second headquarters.

But all that money isn’t likely to buy Bezos a break on Wednesday.

Bezos is due to take his place — virtually — alongside Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai as four of the tech industry’s most powerful chief executives face a grilling from lawmakers. And Bezos’ Everything Store, the $1.5 trillion corporation that he started in his garage as an online bookstore 25 years ago, may have the most to lose as he makes his first-ever appearance before a skeptical Congress.

None of this is an accident, said Matt Stoller, an anti-monopoly researcher and one of the most vocal detractors of the big tech companies. Stoller, director of research at the American Economic Liberties Project, co-wrote a report last week that seeks to chronicle ways in which Amazon has used loopholes in the law — from tax to product liability to antitrust to the company’s relationship with the Postal Service — to benefit its business.

“Bezos didn’t luck into this,” said Stoller, whose recent book “Goliath”explores how monopolies have influenced American politics and democracy. “He was deliberate in taking advantage of legal gaps.”