Although often refusing to exercise the authority that it clearly has, the AG's Office has no problem exercising authority it does not have with respect to alleged gasoline price gouging. Recently three Indianapolis-area gas stations raised gasoline prices about 20 cents a gallon to $4.17. The AG's Office immediately launched an investigation of this alleged price-gouging demanding records from these stations.
First, the price gouging allegation is stupid. The city has hundreds of gas stations. If one station raises its prices 20 cents higher than the next, all it does is drive people to other gas stations with lower prices. Those "gas gouging" stations don't make more money...in fact, they probably make less because of the loss of customers. Unless gas stations are colluding on setting prices (which is illegal and something worthy of investigation), consumers are protected.
|Attorney General Greg Zoeller|
Today, the AG's Office announced that as a result of its investigation it found that there was no price gouging. Really? So in a period of about 24 hours the AG's Office was able to obtain and analyze complicated financial documents from those three stations and complete an investigation with a conclusion that cleared the stations of price gouging? Amazing. I've never seen an administrative agency work so fast.
Of course, the AG's Office did no investigation. AG Greg Zoeller saw a political issue and sought to exploit it. He didn't have the power to do what he was doing and he saved face by claiming an "investigation" cleared the gas stations. This is not exactly the first time Zoeller has lied to the media about his office doing an investigation. He did exactly the same thing when he claimed to reporters he did an investigation into the forfeiture compliance by the state's 92 county prosecutors and found they had not "knowingly" violated the law. Yet Zoeller has failed to produce a single scrap of paper relating to that supposed investigation. His office also lies about doing tort claim investigations, often generating form letters with the declaration that the office "investigated" the matter and found the claim to be meritless.
Indiana consumers deserve better than they're gettingr from Attorney General Greg Zoeller.