"Cult of Corruption" at Bush Agency to Audit Oil Companies

We've been covering the staggeringly corrupt Minerals Management Service of the Bush Dept. of the Interior all year and the hits just keep on coming.

The latest is another whistleblower coming forward and talking to CNN. Seems the dude won the DOI's highest award in 2003 for saving the government (that's you and me, taxpayers) $500 million in royalties that the oil companies tried to underpay.

The next year his position was eliminated. Meanwhile the more oil company friendly staff at MMA partied on for the next five years.

Maxwell said the report doesn't surprise him. The agency, he said, is corrupt "top to bottom." Video Watch a failure to "protect America's interests"»

"It sounds like they forgot they work for the government," he said. "It's disgusting. ... There's no excuse for that. Those people should not be working in those positions at all.

...

Just before he lost his job, he said, one of his superiors in Washington ordered him not to investigate why Shell Oil had raised its oil transportation costs. Maxwell said it jumped from 90 cents to $3 a barrel without adequate explanation. The government paid Shell to transport oil from offshore platforms.

When asked why a government worker would tell an auditor not to investigate, he said: "I believe it started from the top down," he said.

Shell Oil told CNN it "pays the same rate any shipper does" and that it has "never engaged in fraudulent transactions or entered into sham contracts as Mr. Maxwell alleges."

Maxwell, a registered independent, said the shift in attitude at the agency began about seven or eight years ago, about the time the Bush administration came into power. He said he was discouraged from aggressively auditing oil companies.

"Laws and regulations were not applied, also not enforced," he said.

Tags: Oil Accountability Project (all tags)

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