Press Release

Open Markets Calls for Investigation of Amazon’s Bait-and-Switch

Washington, D.C. — Today, after a year-long public search, Amazon announced that it does not in fact plan to open a second headquarters, or HQ2. Instead it will simply do what other corporations do when they grow, and open satellite offices. In this case, it will open one in northern Virginia, outside Washington, DC, and one in New York City.

“Amazon demanded subsidies and terms from cities all over the country, demanded those terms be kept secret, then reneged on its promise to locate thousands of jobs,” said Barry Lynn, Executive Director of the Open Markets Institute. “Amazon is now treating even the biggest of American cities with the same disrespect it shows for the suppliers and the merchants who depend on its website to reach customers.”

For the citizens of New York and Virginia, the challenge now is to figure out how badly state and local officials were taken in. “Public officials fooled by Amazon should make the terms of any deal or proposed deal public,” Lynn said. “The public has a right to know what state and city officials gave away – in exchange for an empty promise. Taxpayers in both communities – and that means anyone who buys anything – should demand an immediate investigation.”

New York officials should be especially ashamed of their efforts. Amazon, notoriously, built its business to scale on the back of one of New York’s great businesses, book publishing. And today, as a monopoly in book selling, Amazon wields an iron fist over the publishers, editors, marketers, and authors who make up this vital community. “Rather than rewarding Amazon for its predatory behavior and dictatorial control over New York’s book business, New York politicians should serve their constituents – the people who actually pay their taxes – by demanding that Amazon be broken up and regulated through public action,” Lynn said.

Barry Lynn, Matt Stoller, Sandeep Vaheesan and Lina Khan of Open Markets Institute are available for comment. For interview requests please contact Carli Kientzle at [email protected].