Amazon seeks recusal of FTC Chair Lina Khan in antitrust examination of $8.5B MGM deal

Lina Khan. (Columbia Law School Photo)

Facing scrutiny over its proposed $8.5 billion purchase of MGM Studios, Amazon is seeking the recusal of FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan from the antitrust investigation, pointing specifically at her previous criticisms of the company’s reach and power.

The 25-page motion filed Wednesday with the FTC outlined Amazon’s objections — specifically that Khan has publicly criticized Amazon and that she has said the company should “be broken up.” This, the motion states, means that Khan as FTC chair can no longer take an impartial view of the company as it examines the deal.

Amazon spokesperson Jack Evans said a statement that Khan has not tried to hide her views in public forums, committee hearings, and her 2018 in the Yale Law Journal article, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.” The paper is the underpinning of current proposed federal legislation to curb the reach of the tech giants, including Amazon.

“Amazon should be scrutinized along with all large organizations. However, even large companies have the right to an impartial investigation,” Evans said. “Chair Khan’s body of work and public statements demonstrate that she has prejudged the outcome of matters the FTC may examine during her term and, under established law, preclude her from participating in such matters.

“While we have the utmost respect for FTC Chair Khan, her work for the Open Markets Institute (a longtime Amazon critic), law journal articles, and role as a chief author of the House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee report all reflect preconceived views about the company that she has repeatedly confirmed in media interviews.”

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