Hastert & Frist’s White House Letter: Much Ado About Nothing

By April 26, 2006General

It was with a fair amount of hysteria that the WaPo reported over the weekend that House Speaker Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Frist were planning on sending a letter to the White House, demanding a crackdown on oil companies. After all, intra-family spats make for such great press, even better when it’s the GOP. Nothing like an internecine war to sell papers.

Yesterday, somebody sent us a copy of the letter — click here to read it. When you do, you’ll see that there’s not much there. It begins thusly: “In the wake of unprecedented increases in worldwide demand for gasoline, particularly in China and India, coupled with other factors, American consumers are facing record prices for gasoline at the pump.” So far, so good. It continues: “Anyone who is trying to take advantage of this situation while American families are forced into making tough choices over whether to fill up their cars or severely cut back their budgets should be investigated and prosecuted.” The letter goes on to call for vigorous enforcement by the Attorney General and the FCC of any allegations or instances of price gouging. Fair enough.

So it wasn’t exactly an indictment of the oil companies, and it wasn’t exactly calling on the President to conduct a full-scale investigation of the oil companies. it was urging the President to make sure there wasn’t any price gouging, the clear emphasis being on retail establishments.

But that wouldn’t make much news, would it….?