Top Dems Correct the Record on President Trump’s Multiple Unsubstantiated Claims Against Amazon
Today, Reps. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Gerald E. Connolly, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, sent a letter to President Donald Trump in response to troubling reports that he is using his authority as president to launch political attacks against Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos, and to pressure the Postal Service to raise its rates for Amazon.
“We are writing in response to troubling reports that you are using the authority of your office to launch political attacks against Amazon and its founder, Jeffrey Bezos, and to pressure the Postal Service to raise its rates for Amazon in retaliation for perceived wrongs against you. We are also writing to correct multiple unsubstantiated claims you have made via Twitter relating to these matters,” the Ranking Members wrote.
On May 18, 2018, the Washington Post reported that, in “multiple conversations occurring this year and last,” President Trump “personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com and other firms to ship packages, according to three people familiar with their conversations, a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars.”
According to this report, the Postmaster General resisted Trump’s demands and provided him with information showing that “the Amazon relationship is beneficial for the Postal Service.” Despite being provided this information, President Trump continued his Twitter attacks against Amazon on March 31, 2018 and April 3, 2018.
The Oversight Committee has now obtained documents from the Postal Service, in response to a previous letter from Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows and Ranking Member Connolly, demonstrating that President Trump’s repeated attacks against Amazon are inaccurate.
The Postal Service produced contracts to the Committee on May 11, 2018 and asked the Committee not to release them because they contain confidential business information. However, Cummings and Connolly released the following information based on a review of the contracts:
“First, Amazon is not receiving any preferential treatment from the Postal Service. It is paying package delivery rates comparable to FedEx and UPS. Amazon is the largest shipper of packages by the Postal Service, and the Negotiated Service Agreement between the Postal Service and Amazon has been reviewed thoroughly by the Postal Regulatory Commission to ensure profitability.
“Second, the Postal Service’s package delivery services with Amazon and other retailers has been one of the few areas of growth in Postal Service revenues, experiencing double-digit increases in recent years and accounting for nearly 30% of its operating revenue in fiscal year 2017.
“Third, the Postal Service’s package delivery services not only help mitigate losses in other areas, but provide the American people with low-cost services for retail purchases. These contracts are constantly renegotiated, sometimes multiple times each year,” the Members wrote.
“It is highly inappropriate to use the authority of your office to attack a political rival and seek to impair his business financially,” Cummings and Connolly wrote. “It is even more inappropriate to launch such attacks using false claims that are not supported by the facts. The allegations you have made about Amazon and the Postal Service are inaccurate, and we ask that you correct the record.”
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