Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Drill this: GOP Interior ethics, sex & drugs scandal

McCain & Bush big smiles for big oil

UPDATE, 9/11: from PEER: INTERIOR ETHICS SCANDALS INVOLVE MORE THAN “A FEW” — Widespread Industry Penetration of Interior Tatters Kempthorne Ethics Vows.

WASHINGTON -- As Congress prepares to debate expansion of drilling in taxpayer-owned coastal waters, the Interior Department agency that collects oil and gas royalties has been caught up in a wide-ranging ethics scandal -- including financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct.

In three reports delivered to Congress on Wednesday, the department’s inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, found wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service, which collects about $10 billion in royalties annually and is one of the government’s largest sources of revenue other than taxes.

"A culture of ethical failure" besets the agency, Mr. Devaney wrote in a cover memo.

Two of the highest-ranking officials who were targets of the investigations will apparently escape sanction. Both retired during the investigation, rendering them safe from any administrative punishment, and the Bush/Cheney Justice Department has declined to prosecute them on the charges suggested by the inspector general.

Read the whole breaking story in NYT, Houston Chronicle and Washington Post.

- adapted from NYT

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