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Government Officials Tried To Rewrite Ethics Rules To Accommodate Their Partying

By Amanda Terkel  

"Government Officials Tried To Rewrite Ethics Rules To Accommodate Their Partying"

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According to the new Interior Department Inspector General (IG) report, nearly a third of the Denver Minerals Management Service’s 55-person office “received gifts and gratuities from oil and gas companies.” Several employees have tried to claim that they were unaware of federal ethics guidelines. However, as the IG outlines, almost all these officials had attended ethics briefings and knew the rules:

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RIK officials often bragged about the “RIK way of doing business,” which aimed to “be a part of industry.” In the summer of 2006, RIK employees wrote up a document titled, “Initiative to Clarify Guidance for RIK Interaction with Industry,” which would codify their “uniqueness.” In short, RIK officials wanted to rewrite the ethics rules to cover up their misdoings. From the Initiative document:

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As further evidence that employees were aware their socializing with industry officials was unethical, at one point, RIK oil marketing specialist Crystel Edler had her industry friends hide the fact that she had gone to a Shell party and stayed in a hotel at their expense. Edler told her friends that they were “sooo wonderful” for helping her out:

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In a statement today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) criticized “how cozy the relationship between Big Oil and the Administration’s regulators have been,” which has “cheated the American taxpayer out of billions of dollars owed them by the oil companies.”

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