Republicans Call for Investigation of Oil Price Hikes

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., sent a letter to President Bush today urging him to order an investigation of possible price gouging by oil companies and gasoline retailers.

"Anyone who is trying to take advantage of this situation while American families are forced into making tough choices over whether to fill up their cars or severely cut back their budgets should be investigated and prosecuted," the joint letter read.

Gasoline prices are above $3 a gallon in many parts of the country and last week oil reached a record $75 a barrel.

The Republican leaders ask that the president direct the U.S. attorney general and chairman of the Federal Trade Commission to investigate any "potential collusion, price-fixing or gouging in the sale or distribution of gasoline, petroleum distillates or ethanol in wholesale or retail markets."

They ask that officials look into possible price gouging at every level, from refineries to transportation to conducting sweeps of retail gas stations. Frist and Hastert also ask that the chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission investigate whether spikes in oil or gasoline prices could be caused by "improper manipulation by traders or by energy firms."

Democrats said the Republicans' call for a gasoline price investigation shows they are "scrambling for political cover," according to wire reports.

To read the full letter, click here.