We can just say he’s taking going green to a whole new level. He’s essentially recycling the same plan as last year.
Under pressure to take action on rising gasoline prices, President Barack Obama wants Congress to strengthen federal supervision of oil markets, increase penalties for market manipulation and empower regulators to increase the amount of money energy traders are required to put behind their transactions.
The White House plan, which Obama was to unveil Tuesday, is more likely to draw sharp election-year distinctions with Republicans than have an immediate effect on prices at the pump. The measures seek to boost spending for Wall Street enforcement at a time when congressional Republicans are seeking to limit the reach of federal financial regulations.
Obama plans to spell out his $52 million proposal Tuesday at the White House, where he will be joined by Attorney General Eric Holder.
Wonderful. Another $52 million we don’t have, all as a means of shielding himself from scrutiny.
But some ask the obvious question: What happened to the task force on oil speculation announced to much fanfare last year?
Short answer: Nothing.
When oil and gasoline prices soared last April, President Barack Obama announced to fanfare that the Department of Justice would lead a task force designed to root out manipulation of the oil market and gouging of consumers at the gas pump.
Since then the group has met only a handful of times and has never reported to the public.
The Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group has met only four or five times since its creation last April 21, and most of those meetings came at the time of its inception. Back then, Obama promised that the group would “root out any cases of fraud or manipulation” and noted that its scope would include the “role of traders and speculators.”
Although the task force was announced during a time when Obama’s poll numbers were sagging and he left the impression that it was investigative in nature, it’s actually a subset of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, an independent entity.
Far from being a new sheriff in town, the oil and gasoline working group assembles regulators from several agencies with overlapping jurisdiction to discuss what they’re looking into separately, see what information they can legally share and compare experiences.
An official from the Department of Justice, demanding anonymity because of a lack of authorization to speak to journalists on the matter, confirmed that the panel is acting as a clearinghouse, hoping that sharing information from one agency might push another forward.