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Schumer, Senate Democrats Call On DOJ To Immediately Launch Full Court Press Against Big Oil To Prevent And Prosecute Collusion & Price Fixing

New York, N.Y. – Today Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) led a group of 23 Democratic Senators in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter calling on DOJ to use every tool at its disposal to prevent and prosecute collusion and price fixing in the oil industry. The letter follows a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into the Exxon-Pioneer merger – called for by Leader Schumer and Congressional Democrats – that uncovered evidence of price fixing involving American oil executives and OPEC officials that have resulted in higher energy costs for American families and businesses.

“From pre-pandemic times to current day, industry collusion may have contributed to the 49% decrease in the U.S. oil production growth rate,” said the Senators’ letter. “Pioneer’s and its co-conspirators’ collusion may have cost the average American household up to $500 per car in increased annual fuel costs – an unwelcome tax that is particularly burdensome for lower-income families. Meanwhile, Western oil majors collectively earned more than $300 billion in profits over the last two years, a surge that many market experts believe cannot be explained away by increased production costs from the pandemic or inflation.”

The letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Fetterman (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Jean Shaheen (D-NH), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

The letter calls for the DOJ to launch an industry-wide investigation into possible violations of the Sherman Act to hold any bad actors accountable and to redress any harms to competition and consumers. The letter also outlined how Big Oil’s alleged collusion with OPEC is a national security concern that aids countries looking to undermine the US like Iran and Russia.

“Corporate malfeasance must be confronted, or it will proliferate. These alleged offenses do not simply enrich corporations; hardworking Americans end up paying the price through higher costs for gas, fuel, and related consumer products. The DOJ must protect consumers, small businesses, and the public from petroleum-market collusion, and an important part of that mission means seeking full restitution and imposing all penalties supported by the facts and the law.”

Read the full letter text HERE.