Improvements Needed in the Enforcement of Crude Oil Reseller Price Controls

EMD-79-57: Published: May 29, 1979. Publicly Released: May 29, 1979.

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A review was made of the government's handling of crude oil reseller cases involving probable violations of federal price control regulations.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessor agencies have not adequately enforced crude oil resellers' compliance with legislative requirements. Key issues involving the interpretation of pricing regulations have not been resolved, hindering effective auditing. Despite recently improved coordination with the Department of Justice in the handling of criminal cases, DOE still does not draw sufficiently on Justice's expertise at key decision points, and needs to put its operating arrangements with Justice in writing. Adequate priority has not been given to pricing audits, and DOE does not appear to be committing adequate resources to ensure the quality of individual audits and the adequacy of overall audit coverage. Excess time spent by auditors and investigators in establishing the willfulness of violations, going beyond the point at which cases could have been referred to Justice, has limited coverage and could jeopardize Federal prosecution of some violations due to statutory limitations.

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