"Obama vows crackdown on energy speculators"
Sen. Barack Obama on Sunday said as president he would strengthen government oversight of energy traders he blames in large part for the skyrocketing price of oil.Barack Obama
The Democratic candidate's campaign singled out the so-called "Enron loophole" for allowing speculators to run up the cost of fuel by operating outside federal regulation. Oil closed near $135 a barrel on Friday — almost double the price a year ago.
"My plan fully closes the Enron loophole and restores commonsense regulation as part of my broader plan to ease the burden for struggling families today while investing in a better future," Obama said in a campaign statement.
Obama's campaign blamed the loophole on former Sen. Phil Gramm, a Texas Republican who serves as Republican candidate Sen. John McCain's co-chairman and economic adviser. The Obama campaign accused Gramm of inserting a provision into a bill in late 2000 "at the behest of Enron lobbyists" that exempted some energy traders from government oversight.
The 'Enron loophole'
Houston-based Enron collapsed in scandal in 2001 when it was discovered the company had vastly overstated its income.
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