Scandal at the Department of the Interior

Wow, this is one heck of a scandal at the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service. Here’s a taste:

Two other reports focus on “a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” and unethical behavior in the service’s royalty-in-kind program. That part of the agency collects about $4 billion a year in the form of oil and gas rather than cash royalties.

Modeled on a private-sector energy company, the decade-old royalty-in-kind program transports, processes and resells the oil and gas on the open market. But while its officials interact with energy company executives, they are subject to government ethics rules, such as restrictions on taking gifts from sources with whom they conduct official business.

One of the reports says that the officials viewed themselves as exempt from those limits, indulging themselves in the expense-account-fueled world of oil and gas executives.


There’s much more beyond that. Note that I’m pretty sure these are the guys who will be supervising our new paradise of continental shelf drilling. But I’m sure that electing a new chief executive from the same political party as the current one, who shares the same close ties to the same oil and gas companies that make the donations that allow them to hire the same political operatives, will be just the thing to turn this kind of problem around. You know what they say — if it first you don’t succeed, try again with a different guy who has the same ideas and associates.