GOP members of the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos concerning the Southern Poverty Law Center’s relationship with Amazon Smile, a charity program that lets customers donate money to any of the acceptable nonprofits listed on the website.
In the letter, the Reps. Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Mike Johnson, Ken Buck, and others determined that Amazon’s reliance on the SPLC to decide which charities may become eligible for the Smile donation program confirms that “Big Tech is biased against conservatives and censors conservative views.”
“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. “In this way, Amazon’s reliance on the SPLC as a barometer to determine the eligibility of charitable organizations on AmazonSmile serves to discriminate against conservative views.”
The letter also outlines why the SPLC is unreliable, claiming that its willingness to place some conservative groups in the same category as “actual extremist organizations” proves its untrustworthiness and unreliability
“The SPLC has received criticism for its business practices, internal culture, and approach to identifying and publicizing certain ‘hate groups.’ One author called the SPLC’s ‘hate map’— which designates various groups the SPLC considers to be extremist—’an outright fraud’ and ‘a willful deception designed to scare older liberals into writing checks to the SPLC.’ In particular, the SPLC has baselessly labeled some conservative charitable organizations ‘hate groups,”’alongside actual extremist organizations such as neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan,” the letter reads.
Because of this bias, the representatives requested a briefing outlining Amazon’s “eligibility determinations based on information from the SPLC.”
This letter comes just one day after the RNC denounced the SPLC as a legitimate source to identify hate groups, calling it a “radical organization,” and a few weeks after the House Judiciary’s subcommittee held a hearing on antitrust with CEOs from Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google.
It was in that hearing that Bezos was first confronted about Amazon’s reliance on the SPLC, where he acknowledged their partnership was “an imperfect system” and that he was open to “suggestions on better or additional sources.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) suggested Amazon should consider “a divorce from the SPLC.”
.@RepMattGaetz to @JeffBezos: “You don’t believe @SecretaryCarson is an extremist, do you? So help me understand why you would partner with a group that labels him as [one]?” pic.twitter.com/VBksKFH3SF
— Alliance Defending Freedom (@AllianceDefends) July 29, 2020