Judiciary Hearing on Oil Prices and Market Failure:A Federal Investigation Denied

May 16, 2007
Blog
The Judiciary Committee Task Force on Antitrust has concluded its hearing, "Prices at the Pump: Market Failure and the Oil Industry." Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General for the State of Connecticut, describes a meeting he had with US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales requesting a federal investigation into the oil industry:

Attorney General Blumenthal:

"As I was driving here from the airport I thought back to a meeting that I had with the United States Attorney General less than a year ago, involving a number of my colleagues from all around the country, both Republican and Democrat Attorneys General, who met with him and the chairman of the FTC with the single purpose of persuading them to begin a federal investigation. And unfortunately, our plea went unheeded then -- there has been no effective federal investigation..."

Full transcript:

"As I was driving here from the airport I thought back to a meeting that I had with the United States Attorney General less than a year ago, involving a number of my colleagues from all around the country, both Republican and Democrat Attorneys General, who met with him and the chairman of the FTC with the single purpose of persuading them to begin a federal investigation. And unfortunately, our plea went unheeded then -- there has been no effective federal investigation.

"We pleaded with Attorney General Gonzales and FTC Chairman Majoras, Platt, [sic] to begin an investigation of the oil industry, and we offered our partnership in that work. All 50 Attorneys General have hands full investigating monopolistic abuses on the part of the oil industry, but we lack the authority, and expertise, and resources of the federal government. And so we invited, we beseeched the federal government to join us in that investigation and so far they have declined to do so.

"There is a need to provide greater authority but also to use that authority effectively to enforce the law. The law without enforcement is dead letter. And so, as we review what can be done to change the law, I think at the top of the priorities ought to be the kinds of demands that you have made, Mr. Chairman, and other Members of the Committee and Congress, that the Justice Department be more vigorous in enforcing these laws that protect against anti-trust and consumer abuses."