Editorial: Sex, drugs and lost royalties at Interior
"What a surprise, this news that the oil industry cronies that the Bush White House hand-picked to run the Interior agency, charged with collecting oil and natural gas royalties, partied long and hard with the companies they were supposed to regulate.

Interior's inspector general, Earl Devaney, delivered three reports to Congress late last week, and together they comprise a devastating portrait of an agency that was literally out of control, rife with graft, drugs and government employees having sex with industry workers.

As Devaney dryly noted, in one of the great lines in the history of inspector general reports, "Sexual relationships with prohibited sources cannot, by definition, be arms-length."

So true.

It would be much funnier, of course, if the agency, known as the Minerals Management Service, wasn't charged with the serious responsibility of ensuring that oil and gas companies pay billions of dollars in royalties. At this point, no one has any idea how much money the U.S. Treasury may have lost due to the "culture of ethical failure" at the agency. In a speech last week, Oregon's U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden suggested that it may amount to billions of dollars.

This isn't about a few rogue employees at the Minerals Management Service. Devaney reported that at least one-third of the entire staff of the agency's Royalty In Kind Division, which manages in-kind payments in oil and gas, socialized with and received illegal gifts and gratuities from employees of oil and gas companies they regulate."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Sex, drugs and (lost) oil royalties (The Oregonian 9/15)

More Opinions:
Editorial: Interior's betrayal of trust (The Charleston Post Courier 9/15)
Editorial: Literally In Bed With Big Oil (The Bristol Herald Courier 9/15)
Editorial: Agency parties as public pays (The Gadsden Times 9/15)
Editorial: Sleeping with the industry (The Boston Globe 9/14)

OIG Reports:
Gregory W. Smith | MMS Oil Marketing Group - Lakewood | Federal Business Solutions Contracts

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