The Interior Department, which controls oil and gas collected from US taxpayer-owned coastal waters, has been plagued with shocking ethical abuses, according to a government investigation. Violations range from giving contracts to a retired employee instead of allowing for competitive bidding to substance abuse and promiscuity.
The report states that officials “frequently consumed alcohol at (oil) industry functions, used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.” Officials also allegedly accepted gifts from energy companies that exceed ethics rules, such as golf, meals and drinks, and tickets to a Toby Keith concert. In addition, oil companies were allowed to purchase oil and gas at a lowered price, after they had won contracts.
The alleged ethics mayhem took place in the Mineral Management Service (MMS) and Royalty In Kind Programs. The MMS brings in $10 billion for the federal government each year. It's the second biggest revenue maker after taxes. To find out what the investigation recommends now, read more.
The investigation strongly recommends that the Bush Administration either fire those who accepted gifts, or ban them from certain positions. Many have been transferred to other government jobs. The high-ranking officials retired during the investigation. Thus they could only face consequences if the Justice Department pursued suggested charges, which it has declined to do.
Since the department in charge of taxpayer oil seems to be a free for all, do you think we should hold off putting more oil and money in their hands through increased offshore drilling, or is this just the immoral and illegal behavior by a few bad apples?