Amazon claimed in a legal complaint Monday that the company lost a $10-billion cloud-computing project because President Donald Trump wanted to deny its billionaire CEO a big government contract.
Trump used “improper pressure” on the contract process to hurt Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, the legal complaint noted. The tech company was viewed as a top contender to win the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project before it was given to Microsoft in October.
The president launched a full-on assault against the company behind the scenes to hurt “his perceived political enemy,” the legal complaint added.
Controversy has plagued the cloud computing program.
Computing giant Oracle, for instance, alleged in May that former Defense Department official Deap Ubhi was offered shares in Amazon and a salary with the big tech giant while he was finding a company to help build out JEDI. Ubhi never recused himself, according to the document.
The process grew even more toxic after Trump found out about Amazon’s involvement in the project. Conservatives have long argued that such a program should not go exclusively to one company.
It’s become a controversial issue among some Republicans. Reps. Steve Womack of Arkansas and Tom Cole of Oklahoma, for instance, requested a probe in October 2018 into the Pentagon’s handling of the deal. This came after the Daily Caller News Foundation reported in 2018 that an adviser to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis once consulted for Amazon Web Services through her firm.
Amazon has not responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.
The DOD refused to comment on Amazon’s claims, citing the company’s litigation, but spokeswoman Elissa Smith told the DCNF the contract was doled out by experts who were not externally influenced.
“There were no external influences on the source selection decision. The department is confident in the JEDI award and remains focused on getting this critical capability into the hands of our warfighters as quickly and efficiently as possible,” she said.
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