Amazon and U.S. senators argue about taxes, unions and “bad tweets”
Amazon has been embroiled in a discussion with Senator Elizabeth Warren on Twitter about her workplace practices and tax issues in an unusually aggressive public relations maneuver as Washington’s hostility grows.
The war of words began Thursday with a Massachusetts senator, the main advocate for consumer protection in Congress, criticizing the company for exploiting empty taxes. Amazon said it was following laws written by Congress.
“I didn’t write the slots you exploit, @amazon – your lawyers and lobbyists’ armies did it” he wrote. “But you bet I’ll fight to pay your fair share. And fight your unionism. And fight to break Big Tech so you don’t have enough power to get rid of senators with neat tweets.”
The company’s @AmazonNews account on Friday he replied, saying his tweets are “extraordinary and engaging”. He added: “One of the most powerful politicians in the United States has said he will break the American company so that they can no longer criticize him.”
Amazon Washington is one of the many technology companies that is under pressure. Earlier this week, there were CEOs of Google, Facebook and Twitter asked Members of the House of Representatives about disinformation on their platforms.
Amazon has a special risk antitrust action, Regulators of the Federal Trade Commission have announced that they have opened a formal investigation into their business practices. Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden appointed Lina Khan, an academic who made her name by accusing Amazon of monopolistic behavior, was an FTC commissioner.
In the first year KhanWarren has been credited with helping shape his thinking about the technology sector, as he helped write a report to Congress accusing the company of using third-party vendor data to improve and sell its products.
Khan is not the only ally of Warren who is serving at the senior level in the federal government. Biden has appointed Bharat Ramamurti, one of his former political aides, as deputy director of the National Economic Council; Julie Siegel, another former employee of the senator, has been named deputy chief of staff of the U.S. Treasury; and Rohit Chopra has been appointed head of the Office of Consumer Financial Protection, where he worked when Warren worked as a director.
Amazon has it in its corner Jay Carney, Former White House press secretary to Barack Obama’s leadership, who currently directs Amazon’s public relations and policy efforts. Carney joined Amazon as head of global affairs in 2015, and became a close circle of CEO Jeff Bezos ’closest advisers, known as the S-Team.
Warren’s Twitter rumor continued to line up last week between Amazon executive Dave Clark and Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator who announced he would travel to Bessemer, Alabama on Friday to help workers try to form the first Amazon union in the U.S. on Friday.
“I welcome @SenSanders to Birmingham and appreciate the push for a progressive workplace.” wrote Clark. “I often say that we’re employers of Bernie Sanders, but that’s not very correct because we really offer a progressive workplace.”
Asked about the tweets on Friday evening, Sanders said he replied, “He tells me they’re nervous.”
Following Clark’s comments, Bezos, under the direction of Sanders, in a congressional hearing under Sanders, decided to decline the invitation to discuss the income gap.