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Letter to the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial &Administrative Law, Committee On the Judiciary

July 13, 2020

David N. Cicilline, Chair

F. James Sensenbrenner, Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law

Jerrold Nadler, Chair

Jim Jordan, Ranking Member

Committee on the Judiciary

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515


Chairman Cicilline, Ranking Member Sensenbrenner, Chairman Nadler and Ranking Member Jordan:


The committee recently made known that Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Sundar Pichai of Google will testify later this month, but said that additional details of the format will be forthcoming. We write to urge you to ensure that the world’s most powerful tech CEOs testify in separate, individualized sessions before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law later this month in furtherance of its historic investigation into digital markets.


Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google derive power from their enormity and complexity, which strike at the heart of this investigation. Reporting suggests that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who among the four CEOs is the only who has never provided Congressional testimony, is focused on securing a format that could shield him from answering the Subcommittee's questions. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai have all previously testified individually and voluntarily in accordance with Congress' requests.


As four of the six most valuable companies in the world, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have broad and complicated corporate structures and business strategies. The difficulty of analyzing their businesses virtually and in a single day will be compounded by the likelihood that the CEOs, whose businesses are, of course, distinct, will work together, if allowed to testify side by side, to evade and deflect questions while obscuring critical answers the Subcommittee seeks.


No CEO should have the ability to artificially limit the Subcommittee’s investigation through tactics like this, but we must anticipate that these CEOs will tacitly cooperate to exploit any such openings during the hearing. Should the corporations refuse to come before Congress virtually and individually, we support immediately compelling their testimony through subpoena, along with any other information the Subcommittee deems relevant to its investigations that the corporations fail to voluntarily produce.


Sincerely,


Accountable Tech

Alliance to Counter Crime Online

American Economic Liberties Project

Athena

Backbone Campaign

Color of Change

Demand Progress Education Fund

Freedom From Facebook & Google

ILSR

Jobs with Justice

Make the Road New York

Media Justice

Open Markets Institute

Threshold



cc:

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker

Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives



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