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17 states, including Minnesota, join FTC in massive antitrust lawsuit against Amazon

Federal government, 17 states sue Amazon in landmark monopoly case
Federal government, 17 states sue Amazon in landmark monopoly case 00:33

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota is among over a dozen states that are filing a sweeping antitrust suit against Amazon.

The Federal Trade Commission and 17 state attorneys general on Tuesday filed a much-anticipated case against Amazon, alleging the retailing giant illegally wields monopoly power to maintain higher prices, harming customers and hurting rivals.

"Our complaint lays out how Amazon has used a set of punitive and coercive tactics to unlawfully maintain its monopolies," FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement. "The complaint sets forth detailed allegations noting how Amazon is now exploiting its monopoly power to enrich itself while raising prices and degrading service for the tens of millions of American families who shop on its platform and the hundreds of thousands of businesses that rely on Amazon to reach them."

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison released a statement early Tuesday afternoon. 

"Millions of Minnesotans shop on Amazon, and large and small Minnesota businesses sell on Amazon's marketplace as well. But Amazon's illegal conduct has significantly stifled competition for much of the online economy and has driven up the cost of shopping - and selling - on Amazon for everyone," Ellison said. "Markets should be fair for all businesses and all consumers, and whether you're buying necessities or trying to make a living, everyone deserves the benefits of healthy competition - including fair prices when you're shopping, and reasonable fees when you're doing business. I joined the FTC and a bipartisan group of attorneys general from around the country in this lawsuit because Amazon doesn't get to break federal antitrust law and make it harder for all of us to afford our lives just because it's big and powerful. Antitrust law is a very important tool in helping people afford their lives." 

Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from CBS News.

The legal showdown comes after Amazon attorneys gave no ground in discussions last month with the FTC, both Politico and the Wall Street Journal reported. The complaint focuses on Amazon's business practices that the FTC contends block lower prices on rival sites and compel merchants to use the e-commerce company's logistics and advertising services.

The FTC case relies on showing how Amazon's business practices allegedly violate antitrust laws.

Outside of Minnesota, the states to join the lawsuit include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.

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