Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Big oil companies in bed with Bush Administration... literally

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Looks like Denver may get a little more play this election season.

Government officials handling billions of dollars in oil royalties engaged in illicit sex with employees of energy companies they were dealing with and received numerous gifts from them, federal investigators said Wednesday.

The alleged transgressions involve 13 Interior Department employees in Denver and Washington. Their alleged improprieties include rigging contracts, working part-time as private oil consultants, and having sexual relationships with — and accepting golf and ski trips and dinners from — oil company employees, according to three reports released Wednesday by the Interior Department's inspector general. - MSNBC
The Minerals Management Service is at the center of this news.
The Minerals Management Service (MMS), a bureau in the U.S. Department of the Interior, is the Federal agency that manages the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the outer continental shelf (OCS). The agency also collects, accounts for and disburses more than $8 billion per year in revenues from Federal offshore mineral leases and from onshore mineral leases on Federal and Indian lands. The program is national in scope and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

The MMS is comprised of two major programs: Offshore Energy and Minerals Management and Minerals Revenue Management. The Offshore program, which manages the mineral resources on the OCS, is comprised of three regions: Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific. The Minerals Revenue Management program is headquartered in Washington, D.C., but operationally based in Denver, Colorado.

MMS Mission Statement
MMS’s mission is to manage the ocean energy and mineral resources on the Outer Continental Shelf and Federal and Indian mineral revenues to enhance public and trust benefits, promote responsible use, and realize fair value.
More from the NY Times
The investigation also concluded that several of the officials “frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.”
And the Denver Post first reported on this on 8/24

MMS officials have allowed certain oil companies to skirt bidding procedures, modify sales contracts and avoid paying interest on royalties owed to the government, according to documents. After four Interior auditors working for the Denver office raised alarms in whistle-blower suits — filed during the past four years — about what they considered fraudulent activities by oil corporations, all but one were reassigned or saw their jobs eliminated.

While the leading presidential candidates both support more offshore drilling, industry experts say Interior's royalty-oversight issues are missing from the public discussion.

"The candidates should, generally at least, be talking about whether proper amounts are being returned to the public," said Mark Squillace, director of the National Resources Law Center at the University of Colorado. "In light of record profits oil and gas companies are seeing, they can afford to pay a fair share to the public, which, after all, owns these resources."

Just think... we can have a 3rd term of this kind of crap with McSame.
It sure gives new meaning to "Drill Baby Drill"