FACT CHECK: Sherrod Brown Is Fighting To Lower Gas Prices & Josh Mandel Has Refused To Support His Efforts

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FACT CHECK: Sherrod Brown Is Fighting To Lower Gas Prices & Josh Mandel Has Refused To Support His Efforts

JOSH CLAIMS: Sherrod Brown is to blame for Ohio’s high gas prices.

THE TRUTH: Sherrod Brown fights every day against Wall Street speculation which drives up gas prices, while Josh Mandel sides with his friends in Big Oil and Wall Street.

1. Sherrod called on federal regulators to move more quickly to address energy speculators and the effect on gas prices. [Daily Record, 01/20/11]

2. Sherrod called for a crackdown on hedge funds and other investors that were manipulating oil prices. [Columbus Dispatch, 01/21/11]

3. Sherrod introduced legislation to end subsidies for five largest and most profitable oil companies while Josh Mandel refused to support the legislation. [USA Today, Op-Ed, 05/16/11, [Ohio Democratic Party press release, 5/18/11]

Sen. Brown Called On Federal Regulators To Move More Quickly To Address Energy Speculators And The Effect On Gas Prices.  In January 2011, The Daily Record reported “Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is calling on federal regulators to move more quickly in addressing energy speculators and the effect of their market activities on gasoline prices. Brown sent a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission urging members to use their authority to curb “excessive energy speculation,” which he said is leading to price spikes for consumers.”  [Daily Record, 01/20/11]

Sen. Brown Called For Crack Down On Hedge Funds And Other Investors That Were Manipulating Oil Prices.  In January 2011, The Columbus Dispatch reported “If you want to blame somebody for high fuel prices, take a look at investors who speculate in oil futures.  That is Sen. Sherrod Brown’s response to $3-plus-per-gallon gasoline. At a Downtown gas station yesterday, the Ohio Democrat called on a federal panel to crack down on hedge funds and other investors that he thinks are manipulating oil prices.”  [Columbus Dispatch, 01/21/11]

Gas Station Owner Agreed That Speculators, Not Supply And Demand, Were Driving Up Prices.  In January 2011, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported “It was freezing and snowing Sunday afternoon when Sen. Sherrod Brown set up his lectern at a Lee Road gas station to talk about what he said could happen at the pumps this spring – $4 gas prices.  Brown, flanked by a job-seeking constituent and an independent station owner, said speculators were to blame for the rising fuel prices.”  The Plain Dealer continued, “Mark Lyden, who owns a string of True North gas stations, said owners were making little money after credit card fees and delivery costs.  ‘There is little we can do as a retailer,’ said Lyden, who is also the vice chairman of the Ohio Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association. ‘We make cents per gallon.’  Lyden agreed with Brown that speculators, not normal supply and demand, are driving up the prices.”  [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 01/24/11]

May 2011:  Speculation Adds As Much As 50 Cents A Gallon To The Price Of Gas.  In May 2011, The Dayton Daily News reported “Daniel J. Weiss, senior fellow and director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic-leaning nonprofit in Washington, cited a Goldman Sachs report in March that speculation by hedge funds – while not the primary cause of higher prices – had contributed as much as $20 to the price of a barrel of oil.  ‘If that is accurate, that’s worth 50 cents a gallon,’ Weiss said.”  [Dayton Daily News, 05/08/11]

Sen. Brown Touted Two Pieces Of Legislation That Would End Oil Subsidies And Give The Government More Authority To Crack Down On Price Manipulation By Foreign Countries.  In May 2011, The Lima News wrote “A recent visit to a Cleveland-area gas station was a vivid reminder that soaring gas prices affect everyone, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said Wednesday.  With prices staying at or above $4 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline, Brown said everyone — from small business owners, commuters going back and forth to work, truckers and station owners who are selling fewer inside the store products is suffering.”  The News continued, “Brown said the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act would end more than $4 billion in tax deductions, subsidies, and royalty relief given to the five biggest oil companies each year. The savings would go toward paying down the federal deficit, he said. The second bill, the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, would give the federal government more authority to take action against countries within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that manipulate the price of oil through collusion or price-fixing.”  [Lima News, 05/12/11]

Sen. Brown:  “It’s Time We End Subsidies For The Five Largest And Most Profitable Oil Companies.”  In a May 2011 Op-Ed published in The USA Today, Senator Sherrod Brown wrote “After announcing a quarterly profit of $3 billion last week, the CEO of ConocoPhillips said it would be ‘un-American’ to end the taxpayer-funded subsidies that gave $4 billion in corporate welfare to the nation’s five largest oil companies last year.  Four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline. Huge federal budgets. Yet these CEOs want more money from taxpayers?  It’s time we end subsidies for the five largest and most profitable oil companies which collectively raked in $32 billion in profit in the first three months of this year alone. Meanwhile, middle-class families struggle to make ends meet as they fill their tanks with $4-a-gallon gasoline.”  [USA Today, Op-Ed, 05/16/11]

May 2011: The Ohio Democratic Party Asked If Josh Mandel Would Continue To Support Multi-Billion Dollar Subsidies. In May 2011, The Ohio Democratic Party issued a press release that asked, “Last night national Republicans like Rob Portman voted against a common-sense bill to end multi-billion dollar subsidies to Big Oil companies who are enjoying near record profits. While Ohioans struggle with four dollars a gallon gas prices, this begs the question—would Ken Blackwell, Josh Mandel, and Kevin Coughlin stand with Big Oil and Rob Portman? Or would they take responsible steps to end the deficit?” [Ohio Democratic Party press release, 5/18/11]