In a letter sent to Amazon's Jeff Bezos today and obtained by FOX Business, Republican lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee are demanding answers from CEO Jeff Bezos over his charity-support program AmazonSmile – and why some conservative groups are banned from benefiting from the program.
AmazonSmile is a program that lets customers donate a portion of what they spend on the website to charity. Participating in the program is a huge boost for nonprofits. In 2018, AmazonSmile raised $100 million for charities that participated. But many conservative charities are banned from being part of the program.
Amazon uses the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center to decide who gets to participate. The center has routinely put conservative groups on its "hate watch list" and defines some conservative nonprofits like the Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council as "hate groups."
While those conservative groups don't get to benefit from the AmazonSmile money, other politically controversial groups such as Planned Parenthood do.
In the letter signed by the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Jim Jordan, and the top Republican on the Anti-trust subcommittee, James Sensenbrenner, and 13 other House Republicans, lawmakers allege that Amazon's reliance on SPLC means that "Amazon actively prevents such conservative groups from participating."
"The exclusion of these conservative groups from Amazon's heavily-trafficked digital platform leads to less exposure for these groups and fewer opportunities for donations," the letter reads, "Amazon's reliance on the SPLC as a barometer to determine the eligibility of charitable organizations on AmazonSmile serves to discriminate against conservative views."
“This letter shows that the Big Tech investigation is far from over," said a Republican official with knowledge of Congress' investigation into Big Tech.
"A lot of Republicans feel like they didn't hear enough from Jeff Bezos during July's tech hearing on Capitol Hill," the official said. "This letter will allow Republicans to gain further insight into Amazon's biases against conservative groups. Republicans are expecting cooperation from Amazon. Let's hope, for their sake at least, that happens."
Amazon did not immediately respond to FOX Business requests for comment.