In a surprising move, two Republican lawmakers have written to the US attorney general to investigate potential anticompetitive behavior by Amazon, as the ecommerce giant pursues allegations that former President Trump interfered with the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.
JEDI is the massive $10 billion project to migrate the Pentagon’s computing infrastructure to the cloud. It was awarded to Microsoft in 2019, but no work has begun as Amazon has secured an injunction to prevent Microsoft from beginning work on the JEDI project.
Last week, a US Federal Claim Court declined a joint motion by the Department of Defense (DoD) and Microsoft to prevent Amazon from presenting these allegations in the court, leading to further delays and perhaps even cancellation of the entire JEDI project.
Now, Senator Mike Lee and Republican Ken Buck, in letters reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, claim that Amazon might have violated antitrust laws and federal conflict-of-interest laws in its pursuit of the JEDI contract.
Conflict of interest
“We are concerned that Amazon may have attempted to monopolize one or more markets relating to government and/or commercial cloud computing services by improperly influencing the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure procurement process,” contend the lawmakers.
According to WSJ, the lawmakers, in their letter, highlight undisclosed payments between an Amazon consultant and a DoD official.
They also allege that a different DoD official who had previously worked as a consultant for Amazon helped draft the DoD’s cloud acquisition strategy, despite being asked to recuse himself from all Department matters regarding Amazon.
Amazon didn’t immediately respond to WSJ’s requests for comment.