Skip to Content

Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright Applauds FTC’s Efforts to Combat Oil Price Gouging and Collusion at Today’s FY25 Budget Hearing

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Subcommittee member U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) delivered the following remarks at today’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) FY25 Budget Hearing.

Cartwright, who also serves as the Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, also asked FSGG Chair David Joyce (OH-14) to enter in the official record an FTC complaint alleging pricing collusion by a former American oil company executive while addressing witness Lina Khan, chair of the FTC, the bipartisan federal agency that enforces the nation’s antitrust and consumer protection laws.

U.S. Congressman Matt Cartwright Remarks:

“Thank you, Chair Joyce, and to our witness (Khan), welcome.

And let me say on behalf of Americans all over this country, thank you for your efforts at enforcing the antitrust laws that protect consumers against anti-competitive behavior, against unfair collusion, against anti-competitive behavior, against excessive consolidation of American companies.

You are following an American tradition started by Teddy Roosevelt, that great progressive. And I thank you for it.

Two weeks ago, May 2nd, you blew the lid off an amazing scandal of a Texas oil executive who was caught attempting to collude and conspiring to collude with other Texas oil companies, other American oil companies, and officials at OPEC, the Saudi Arabian and Middle Eastern conglomeration of oil producing and exporting countries.

Because oil prices were dropping during the pandemic, he wanted to prop up oil prices by reducing by American and international oil production.

According to the FTC’s complaint filed May 2nd, you quoted this executive from Texas as saying: “If Texas leads the way, maybe we can get OPEC to cut production and maybe Saudi Arabia and Russia will follow. That is our plan.”

Madam Chair, this is not news to Americans. We saw during the pandemic, as price per barrel of oil leveled off, prices at the pump continued to rise and rise. Everybody knew that we were being gouged. Everybody knew that record profits were being scored by the oil companies, the gas companies.

Everybody knows that they’re continuing to make very handsome profits. And people know that this executive that you singled out, that you caught conspiring with OPEC, is worth over $200 million.

It isn't enough that American consumers are struggling to pay their bills to make ends meet as prices remain high after the pandemic. And prices are driven by oil prices and gas prices. Everything we buy has oil and gas prices baked in because it has to be delivered. It has to be transported.

Americans understand the record profits of the oil companies. And it isn't enough that the gas prices are killing people. It isn't enough that the prices of everything continue to stay high. It isn't enough that these oil companies and multi-millionaires and billionaires are still enjoying the fruits of the tax cuts they got in 2017.

None of that’s enough.

Now they have to conspire with OPEC and with other oil companies to keep prices high at the pump by limiting production.

Would you explain to us why what I just described is illegal?”

Response from FTC Chair Lina Khan:

“Antitrust laws prohibit collusion. They prohibit price fixing. They prohibit coordinated output reductions. And so, if we find executives publicly signaling, or as we found here, privately communicating with other executives, or in this case, also with OPEC officials from countries like Saudi Arabia, saying effectively, ‘Hey wouldn't it be great if we all collectively cut back production so that prices would stay high and we could pad our profits?’ That's something that's concerning.”

Congressman Cartwright:

“Well, it concerns all of us here. I commend your work. Keep going Chair Kahn. Get after it.”