DOJ Begins Interviewing Truckers in Probe of Alleged Freight Broker Collusion
Washington D.C. – The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has begun interviewing truckers and other trucking industry stakeholders in an investigation into alleged price fixing and antitrust violations by freight brokers.
Multiple sources who wish to remain anonymous have confirmed to Transportation Nation Network (TNN) that they have already been interviewed by DOJ prosecutors as part of an investigation into alleged freight broker abuses.
According to a Patch.com report on Tuesday, a senior FBI official also confirmed U.S. Attorney General William Barr directed New Jersey U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito to open a price fixing and price gouging investigation.
The FBI official said that New Jersey Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Macurdy has already been assigned to the case, the report also indicated.
While a DOJ spokesperson would not confirm or deny the report, sources who have spoken with DOJ officials as part of the investigation tell TNN investigators are eagerly pursuing more information.
“I do now believe for the first time they are listening to us,” one source said. “We are very excited about moving forward with everything that’s being done here.”
The DOJ probe comes on the heels of President Donald Trump speaking out on the issue in recent weeks.
Mr. Trump is on record siding with the truckers protesting in Washington D.C. and saying during a recent Fox News appearance he believes truckers are being “price gouged.”
On Monday, during a White House roundtable discussion, the President directed Eugene Scalia, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, to “help the truckers.”
In addition, Mr. Trump once again weighed in on the ongoing protest over freight broker issue.
“They’ve been out there [on Constitution Avenue near the South Lawn of the White House] and I’ll tell you, they work hard and they have brokers that take a lot of their business away [and] they don’t work so hard,” President Trump stated. “They sit in an office some place. It’s not good, so I’d like to help the truckers.”
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Last week, at the President’s direction, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows made his way from the White House out to Constitution Avenue to meet with a group of the protesting truckers.
Meadows vowed to contact A.G. Barr and ask him to look into allegations of collusion among brokers and shippers.
The issue exploded within the trucking community as freight rates plummeted amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and served to spur so much outrage among small business truckers, that they refused to end the D.C. protest until the Trump Administration took action.
Mike Landis, founder of the United States Transportation Alliance (USTA), tells TNN he has been in frequent contact with Meadows since that time, and Meadows confirmed to him he did discuss the matter with A.G. Barr.
On Wednesday, Landis and a fellow rally leader, Sergey “C.J.” Karman, founder and CEO of Ezlogz, are expected to meet at the White House with Meadows, along with Jim Mullen, Acting Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and other top Trump Administration officials.
While it has not yet been confirmed, both Landis and Karman believe it is likely President Trump will also be in attendance for the meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in the West Wing.
“This is what we have hoped for,” Landis said to TNN. “I am very humbled and excited.”
“I am going to thank this Administration for making America great again, and we believe President Trump is the right person to make trucking great again,” Karman declared.
Meanwhile, the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) also remains in contact with DOJ officials over the issue.
The SBTC was the first trucking group during the pandemic to call for a DOJ investigation into possible violations of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act, which criminalizes corporate collusion for the purpose of price fixing.
SBTC president James Lamb tells TNN he has forwarded the group’s April 28th antitrust complaint against “big freight brokers” to U.S. Attorney Carpenito.
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