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Amazon Policy Chief Wields Sharp Elbows in D.C.—and the Office

Brian Huseman helps Amazon navigate an increasingly hostile U.S. political landscape. But his approach has increased tensions with lawmakers and regulators, while his leadership style has alienated employees within Amazon’s policy department.

Photo of Amazon's Brian Huseman by Bloomberg. Art by Mike Sullivan
Photo of Amazon's Brian Huseman by Bloomberg. Art by Mike Sullivan
April 18, 2022 6:00 AM PDT

In 2019, Rep. David Cicilline, chair of the House antitrust subcommittee, sent Amazon a letter questioning whether one of the company’s lawyers was truthful in his testimony before the committee a week earlier. The letter rattled some members of Amazon’s public policy team, who worried that the incident had inflamed regulators already scrutinizing the company’s business conduct—but it didn’t seem to trouble Brian Huseman.

Huseman, the Amazon vice president who oversees its U.S. public policy team, waved off his colleagues’ concerns about the letter, which included four pages of pointed questions about whether the internet retailer uses seller data to give Amazon’s in-house brands an unfair advantage over those of its competitors, according to two people who heard his remarks. Huseman reassured his colleagues that he had good relations with Cicilline.

But people close to the investigation said they were surprised to hear of Huseman’s comment when The Information described it to them, adding that they were unaware of any relationship between the two men. While Cicilline also sent letters to Facebook and Google questioning whether their testimony was complete, members of the antitrust committee viewed Amazon as the least cooperative of the four tech giants they were examining, a list that also included Apple, according to people involved in the probe.

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