Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, announced today that he introduced legislation (H.R. 6406) that would elevate the Inspector General of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to give him or her independence and greater authority to oversee the Commission's activities. According to a GAO report Congressman Larson requested, the CFTC has not been actively monitoring or investigating cases of abuse in the energy futures market. This has allowed rampant speculation to drive up the cost of oil completely unchecked.
Congressman Larson said, "The CFTC has abdicated its responsibilities in monitoring and regulating the energy futures market. An Inspector General who has the necessary independence and resources to make sure the CFTC goes back to work will go a long way towards putting our broken energy markets back on track. For too long, the CFTC has answered to Wall Street and K Street. Now, they must answer to Main Street. "
This simple legislation would broaden the powers of the existing inspector general by taking them out from the traditional hierarchy of the CFTC and giving him or her the independence to do the job properly.
Congressman Larson has been actively pursuing ways to rein in the speculation in the energy markets that has driven the cost of a barrel of oil to record heights. Earlier this year he introduced legislation that would take speculators out of the "dark" markets for energy futures. That legislation would require anyone investing in these markets be able to take receipt of the product in which they are investing. He also supported legislation on the floor of the House of Representatives last week that would direct the CFTC to invoke its emergency powers to oversee and regulate the "dark" markets.