It’s always been pretty clear President Obama formed a working group in early March to investigate fraud in the gasoline and oil markets to hoodwink Americans into thinking the president sincerely wants to reduce gas prices. Now, all doubt has been removed.
For one thing, as I wrote at the time, Congress vested the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decades ago with powerful tools to investigate and prosecute commercial fraud, including fraud in the oil and gasoline markets.
So it is entirely illegitimate to try to duplicate the FTC’s expertise by putting Attorney General Eric Holder in charge of a working group of rookies with little experience in this complex energy market. As one pundit observed last month:
To call the administration’s Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group a circus clown’s balloon would insult clowns and their balloons, but there are certainly similarities: both are capable of being twisted this way and that, both are filled by hot air, and both are wholly lacking in meaningful economic content.
It seemed to confirm the lack of “meaningful economic content” in the group when Holder announced his lame progress five weeks later. First, he sent a memo to members of the working group. Impressive – those copy machines at DOJ must have been working overtime.
Second, he held a telephone conference call with working group members from federal and state government. “Our state partners reported that they are monitoring the gas price situation closely,” he said in the memo. Not much of an accomplishment, though. It’s hard to miss those gasoline station signs on all four corners of every major intersection in cities across the country. Don’t laugh, though. Those bureaucrats are probably charging us mileage for driving around looking at them on the taxpayers’ dime.
But any doubt about whether Obama’s “working group” is a sham was removed recently by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and three other Democratic senators: Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Chuck Shumer (D-NY), and Patty Murray (D-WA).
The four, extremely concerned by high gas prices, last week demanded a federal investigation of the oil industry. Did they call Holder’s trust busters? No way, they’re not that dumb. They contacted the FTC.