Rep. Neguse to AG Barr: Help stop price gouging

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BOULDER — U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse and a bipartisan group of House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law members are urging U.S. Attorney General William Barr to take stronger action in combating consumer-goods price gouging during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has really led to a surge in demand for — and a shortage of — a lot of consumer products, including hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies,” Neguse said Thursday. “… While some retailers have taken some steps to maintain access to those products, there have been countless reports of merchants small and large taking advantage of the crisis to prey on consumers.”

Neguse co-wrote a letter signed by Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Jim Sensenbrenner and David Cicilline that calls on Barr and U.S. Department of Justice “to take a more comprehensive approach by coordinating with state attorneys general to counteract price gouging and clarifying the specific actions the department intends to take to deter these abhorrent practices.”

Colorado lacks a price-gouging statute, which makes federal action on the issue especially important here, Neguse said. 

“We want [Barr] to charge his team to look to see whether there are other federal statutes that are being violated” by sellers engaged in price gouging. If those statutory tools don’t exist, Neguse wants to know what Congress can do to provide them. 

Neguse called on Coloradans to come together during this crisis rather than selfishly use it to make a quick profit. 

“We need to be kind to each other and remember that we are ultimately in this together as a community,” he said.