June 23, 2008

Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio

Minneapolis — U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL-Minn., says the federal government can play a role in reducing oil prices by reining in financial speculators.

Klobuchar says excessive speculation on oil futures is artificially driving up the cost of oil, which has translated in high gas prices.

The senator spoke today outside the headquarters of Jefferson Lines, a bus company that is faced with reducing routes because of the gas price hike.

Klobuchar says the U.S. Justice Department should form an oil and gas market fraud task force, similar to a corporate task force created in the wake of the Enron scandal.

"This aggressive new law enforcement approach should be expanded to include activities in the oil markets," Klobuchar said. "It would have an immediate impact because, just as with street crime, white collar criminals are less likely to cause trouble if they know there's a cop patrolling the neighborhood."

Klobuchar is also co-sponsoring legislation designed to strengthen the ability of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to prevent price manipulation.