Congressional Committees Piling on Corrupt Government Agency

Fresh off the damning reports by the DOI Inspector General, now Congress is going to do some oversightin':


Tomorrow the House Natural Resources Committee, led by Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), will hold a full Committee oversight hearing on "Recent Interior Department Inspector General Investigations on Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Collections."

The hearing will be web cast at 10am tomorrow for those who are hoping to see an oil exec breakdown under pressure.

And its not just the DOI's Inspector General who's been putting out damning reports on the Minerals Management Services. The General Accounting Office has also issued a report. Not surprisingly, it's damning too:

A GAO audit published Friday found neither the MMS nor the Bureau of Land Management, which administers onshore-drilling leases, is meeting targets for inspecting leases and metering equipment used to measure oil and gas production, "raising uncertainty about the accuracy of oil and gas measurement."

In 2007, the GAO said, MMS officials completed about half of the required 2,700 inspections of the meters in the Gulf of Mexico that measure production to determine royalty payments. MMS policy calls for annual inspection of all oil- and gas-royalty meters.

...

"You've got a culture there that doesn't worry about the American people getting their fair share of assets," Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) said in an interview.

Yeah, that's the same Darrell Issa who brought us Governor Ahnold, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.

But wait, Natural Resources isn't the only committee that wants a piece of this scandal:

The chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming has launched an investigation into an Interior department scandal involving employees in Lakewood.

Edward Markey, D-Mass., said Monday he has sent letters to the heads of the four companies identified in investigation into allegations of misconduct at Interior's Minerals Management Service office in Lakewood.

...

Markey sent letters to Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil; David O'Reilly, chairman and CEO of Chevron; and Ronald Williams, president and CEO of Denver-based Gary-Williams Energy Corp. He wants detailed records of lobbying expenses by the companies and answers to the following questions:

  • Did any senior executives at the companies know their employees were providing gifts to Interior employees?
  • Did any senior executives at the companies direct any employee to seek out "inappropriately close relationships" with Interior employees or officials?
  • Did the oil companies put aside funds to buy gifts for Interior employees, or any other Bush administration employees or officials?

I'm just looking forward to someone connecting the dots and pointing out that unless something dramatically changes, the oil companies won't be paying royalties for all the offshore oil they're about to start pumping. And the kicker is, they'll be selling it to the highest bidder, there's no guarantee that that oil will be sold to American consumers.

Tags: Nick Rahall, Oil Accountability Project (all tags)

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