Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Interior Department MMS: More Scandals To Come

On July 30, 2008, a former high-level employee of the Interior Department's Mineral Management Service pled guilty in US District Court to the felony of violating conflict of interest laws regarding work subsequent to government employment.  Jimmy Mayberry could potentially receive a 5 year prison sentence and a $250,000.00 fine.

But this may not be the end of the story.

Washington, DC -- The criminal conviction of a top agency manager may be just the beginning of revolving door troubles at the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Workers at the agency are being told to expect more scandals to come.

And the said employees were informed of the possibilty by e-mail!

"Unfortunately, this may not be the end. I understand there are more possibilities of similar announcements as some IG and other investigations are wrapping up.  We will deal with them as they come."

What a unique way to boost agency morale!

MMS plays a highly significant role with respect to exploration and development of oil, natural gas and coal resources.  Recently, its duties have been abdicated in favor of the Bushco penchant for gift-giving to industry.

MMS occupies a pivotal position for oil, natural gas and coal companies with interests in energy exploration or development on public lands or offshore in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf. Recent actions by MMS have opened up vast tracts of the Arctic Ocean to oil and gas operations over the objections of the agency's own scientists. Similarly, MMS has ignored the advice of its own auditors in failing to collect tens of billions of dollars from oil and gas royalties that were lost to the federal treasury.

During the course of the Bush administration, a number of employees have left to enter jobs in private industry at least partially from opportunities they helped create.  A list of some is here.  

PEER again:

"Post-employment prohibitions do not prevent officials from subverting the public interest to enhance their own future private employment prospects," Ruch added. "This period at MMS has been a modern day Teapot Dome scandal but on an epic scale, as measured by the jaw-dropping give-away of public resources."

The end of this administration can't come soon enough.


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