Scandal: Sex, Drugs, and Oil
According to a series of reports sent to Congress on September 10, 2010 by the Interior Department's inspector general, department employees have engaged in serious misconduct throughout the last several years. Allegations include rigging oil contracts, taking money as oil consultants, having sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives, and drug use (Watch an MSNBC video on the same topic here).
But two of the highest-ranking officials involved in the scandal will likely avoid punishment, reports The New York Times.
The report focuses on the Mineral Management Service’s royalty-in-kind program. MMS receives $10 billion annually in royalties from oil companies.
One official has already pled guilty to a felony conflict-of-interest charge. Several years ago, he wrote a consulting contract for the agency, retired, and proceeded to create a company that, unsurprisingly, won the contract. Several employees were complicit in steering the contract his way.
But two of the highest-ranking officials involved in the scandal will likely avoid punishment, reports the New York Times.
Here are the essential documents:
In a cover letter (PDF), Inspector General Earl Devaney details the "culture of ethical failure" in the department.
In the first report (PDF), investigators focus on Gregory Smith, the former program director of the royalty-in-kind program. As the Times reports, "The report accuses Mr. Smith of improperly accepting gifts from the oil and gas industry, of engaging in sex with two subordinates, and of using cocaine that he purchased from his secretary or her boyfriend several times a year between 2002 and 2005."
The second report (PDF) looks at the Interior officials who marketed taxpayers' oil. From the Times: "The report found that 19 officials – about one-third of the program's staff – accepted gratuities from oil companies, which was prohibited because they conducted official business with the industry."
And the third report (PDF) focuses on Lucy Denett, the former associate director of minerals revenue management, who allegedly manipulated the contracting process to steer a contract to her friend Jimmy Mayberry. Mayberry pled guilty to conflict of interest charges earlier this year.
(Photography: courtesy of Flickr: kenhodge13)