Amazon has become embroiled in a rare public row with US senator Elizabeth Warren over issues including its tax and employment practices.
The dispute kicked off on Thursday when the Massachusetts senator posted a video accusing Amazon of “exploiting loopholes and tax havens to pay close to nothing in taxes”.
The ecommerce giant replied saying it was simply following the laws made by Congress, insisting it had paid billions of dollars in corporate taxes in the last few years alone.
Warren hit back saying: “I didn’t write the loopholes you exploit, @amazon – your armies of lawyers and lobbyists did. But you bet I’ll fight to make you pay your fair share. And fight your union-busting. And fight to break up Big Tech so you’re not powerful enough to heckle senators with snotty tweets.”
Amazon’s official news account yesterday replied, describing the comments as “extraordinary and revealing”.
“One of the most powerful politicians in the United States just said she’s going to break up an American company so that they can’t criticize her anymore,” it said.
Earlier this year Warren tabled a new ‘ultra-millionaire’ tax targeting individuals with a net worth of more than $50m, with further levies for those worth more than $1bn.
Amazon has also come under fire from US politicians for its efforts to shut down unions, as well as allegations of poor conditions for workers.
The company this week clashed with Democrat Mark Pocan over claims workers were forced to urinate in bottles.
The disputes — which mark an unusually hostile approach by Amazon — come amid growing tensions between Washington and tech giants.
Earlier this week the bosses of Facebook, Google and Twitter appeared in front of Congress to face a grilling over the spread of misinformation on their platforms.
Amazon is also in the spotlight, with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reportedly considering bringing an antitrust lawsuit against the company.
President Joe Biden this week appointed Lina Khan, a British legal expert known for her criticism of Amazon’s monopolistic practices, as a commissioner on the five-member FTC.