Hurricane Katrina Price Gouging Probe

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The Federal Trade Commission announced September 21, 2005, that the federal government will conduct a Hurricane Katrina price gouging probe.

Coming on the heels of a Congressional hearing the week before "on the impact of Hurricane Katrina on gasoline supplies and prices," on September 8, 2005, 95 Democratic members of Congress had asked U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Deborah Platt Majoras "to investigate the pricing practices of the oil industry." [1]

However, as David Sirota wrote on September 21st, this is both "good news" and "bad news."

The "good news" is, he wrote, that "Democratic governors have embarrassed the federal government into acknowledging the oil price gouging issue, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced a formal probe."

The "bad news" is, he wrote, that "President Bush made sure to preempt any real investigation into price gouging by his financial backers in the oil/gas industry" last year when he appointed former ChevronTexaco lawyer Deborah Platt Majoras as Chairman and Commissioner of the FTC.

"FTC Chairman Deborah Majoras, who has been criticized by Democrats for her ties to oil companies, may decide to open a few investigations just to 'do something' and provide the White House with political cover." --S.M. Oliva, Mises Economics Blog, September 2, 2005.

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