DOI official under investigation for ties to industry
An Interior Department official is being investigated by the Department of Justice for ties to oil companies seeking contracts with the government, The New York Times reports.

Gregory W. Smith was director of the royalty-in-kind program at the Minerals Management Service. [RIK Site]. RIKs are royalties in the form of oil and gas rather than in financial payments.

Smith and three subordinates were at first questioned for social contacts with energy executives hoping to secure favorable RIK contracts. But the inquiry extended to determine whether Smith had a business relationship with oil companies.

Smith and the subordinates have since been taken out of the MMS office in Denver, The Times said. Smith is now a “special assistant” in Washington, D.C, and has been forbidden to avoid contacts with industry executives.

Top Office of Special Trustee officials came under scrutiny for their close relationships with a contractor who was given millions of dollars in work while showering the officials with meals, drinks and golf trips. The Department of Justice declined to prosecute.

Get the Story:
U.S. Official Overseeing Oil Program Faces Inquiry (The New York Times 12/30)
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Inspector General Report:
Minerals Management Service's Compliance Review Process (December 2006)

GAO Letter:
Suggested Areas for Oversight for the 110th Congress (November 17, 2006)

Inspector General Testimony:
Devaney Interior Department: A Culture of Managerial Irresponsibility and Lack of Accountability? (September 2006)

Inspector General Report:
Allegations Concerning Senior Officials of the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians (May 2005)

Relevant Links:
Government Accountability Office:
Office of Special Trustee - http://www.ost.doi.gov

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