Over a month ago, we learned that Amazon has filed an official request to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), asking the regulator to go easy on former CEO Jeff Bezos and current CEO Andy Jassy and not force them to testify in an investigation. The two executives had been issued subpoenas ordering them to testify in a case that claims that Amazon intentionally made it difficult for consumers to cancel Prime memberships. Today, the FTC has rejected the request to forego the duo's testifying process.
In a lengthy order sent out a few hours ago, the FTC has dismissed Amazon's request to go easy on Bezos and Jassy. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that five commissioners - three Democrats and two Republicans - voted on the request. All three democrats Lina Khan, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, and Alvaro Martín Bedoya voted in favor of denying Amazon's request and so did one Republican Christine S. Wilson. However, the second Republican on the panel Noah Joshua Phillips bowed out of the voting process.
Amazon had previously stated that the only reason the FTC is asking Bezos and Jassy to testify is to make their lives difficult by requiring extremely granular details, which it claimed was a harassment tactic. It has cited disappointment at the FTC's decision again, saying that:
[Amazon is] disappointed but unsurprised that the FTC largely declined to rule against itself. We remain concerned that the latest requests are overly broad and needlessly burdensome, and we will explore all our options.
Amazon did win a small victory though. The FTC had previously stated that the same law firm Covington & Burling LLP cannot represent both Amazon and its employees. However, now the FTC has agreed to let go of this restriction. That said, it's clear that Amazon faces a very difficult road ahead and it remains to be seen how it fares once the actual testifying process begins.