Courtney, Blumenthal rev up rhetoric on gas prices

With gas prices hitting record levels in advance of the summer vacation season, many lawmakers are ratcheting up their rhetoric on the issue.

On Friday, Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, took aim at Wall Street speculators who he said have unfairly driven up prices, creating spikes that are not connected to oil supply or other genuine market forces. On MSNBC, Courtney called upon the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to curb the influence of speculators.

“The fact of the matter is we have the tools right now to begin to take out of the market [the] forces that are really, for no reason, driving up prices,” he said.

Over the weekend, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, also pointed a finger in that direction and said the Obama Administration should launch an aggressive inquiry into possible wrong doing.

“The Justice Department should take the lead, seize this moment and send a message, a very strong deterrent message that this country will not tolerate the kind of illegal speculation and trading and hedge fund activity that may be driving prices up,” Blumenthal said on CBS’ Face the Nation.

“The amount of trading and hedge fund activity, the energy positions are at an all-time high in this country’s history up 64 percent from just a few years ago,” he added. And that justifies an immediate and broad investigation by the Department of Justice, he said.