Barton investigates oil company that dared lower prices
I meant to mention this a couple weeks ago, as it is truly hilarious … in a macabre, recoil-in-horror sort of way.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) has used his position as head of the Energy and Commerce Committee to launch an investigation into Big Oil. Not Exxon or Chevron, mind you, and not about record profits or price gouging. No, he’s going after Citgo, the oil company that actually dared lower its prices for low-income customers:
In a Feb. 15 letter to Citgo, the Houston-based company owned by the Venezuelan government, Barton demanded that company officials produce by tomorrow all records, minutes, logs, e-mails and even desk calendars related to Citgo’s novel program of supplying discounted heating oil to low-income communities in the United States.
"The bellicose Venezuelan decided to meddle in American energy policy, and we think it might prove instructive to know how," Larry Neal, deputy staff director for Barton’s committee, said yesterday.
The letter says Hugo Chavez’s "current efforts must be viewed with concern that he is attempting to politicize the debate over U.S. energy policy." Heaven forfend! Who will protect the impeccable integrity of U.S. energy policy!
Barton’s letter lists a bunch of questions he wants Citgo to answer, including "how and why were the particular beneficiaries of this program selected" and whether the program "runs afoul of any U.S. laws, including but not limited to, antitrust laws."
My mind would boggle, but it’s got no bogglin’ left to give.