Oil Conspiracy?

I read an article by Steven Mufson of the Washington Post titled, Oil prices feed Bush conspiracy theories. I noticed the Valley News also ran the article on the front page of last Saturday’s paper.
An important quote from the article is,

But the roller coaster in oil prices this year without any supply disruption has fueled conspiracy theories about why gasoline prices went up and why they are coming down. After seeing a Washington Post report about oil traders scrutinizing supply and demand, one reader responded online: “LOL!!!! They’re looking at the approach of November elections!!!!! Care to wager how soon after the elections a ‘catastrophic’ event will occur to re-inflate the prices at the pump?????”

How long after the elections will price go up is a good question.
The article ends with,

But Public Citizen’s Slocum said an indictment of BP traders for allegedly
trying to corner the propane market shows oil giants can sway prices.
Furthermore, he noted, big oil companies have political preferences.

Slocum said 81 percent of the $63 million in political contributions by major
U.S. oil companies since 2001 have gone to Republicans.
But Slocum thinks the recent price drop isn’t the result of a plot by big oil companies. Instead, he notes the flight of money invested by financial “speculators” in oil
markets.

“Do I think Karl Rove or George Bush is whispering in the ears of
the oil companies? No. That’s silly,” Slocum said.
“But some folks in the government sent strong signals to the speculators. Was that related to the elections? I don’t know.”

I realize there are many factors affect the market price of oil and the price at the pump, but the idea of a connection between big oil companies and the Bush administration is anything but “silly.” Look at their political contribution and record profits.

Anyone else think there is a kernel of truth to these conspiracy theories?

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