Misconduct Found at Interior Dept.
10 September, 2008
As Congress prepares to debate expansion of drilling in taxpayer-owned coastal waters, the Interior Department agency that collects oil and gas royalties has been caught up in a wide-ranging ethics scandal â€” including allegations of financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct.
In three reports delivered to Congress on Wednesday, the departmentâ€™s inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, found wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service, which collects about $10 billion in royalties annually and is one of the governmentâ€™s largest sources of revenue other than taxes.
â€œA culture of ethical failureâ€ besets the agency, Mr. Devaney wrote in a cover memo.
The reports portray a dysfunctional organization that has been riddled with conflicts of interest, unprofessional behavior and a free-for-all atmosphere for much of the Bush administrationâ€™s watch.