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IG Finds Fraternizing, Porn, Drugs At MMS

From a selectively outraged New York Times:

Interior Probe Finds Fraternizing, Porn and Drugs at MMS Office in La.

By NOELLE STRAUB

May 25, 2010

Federal officials who oversaw drilling in the Gulf of Mexico accepted gifts from oil companies, viewed pornography at work and even considered themselves part of industry, the Interior Department inspector general says in a new report…

The investigation uncovered violations of federal regulations and ethics rules by employees of the Lake Charles, La., office of the Minerals Management Service, the federal agency that oversees offshore drilling.

Interior Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall said her greatest concern is "the environment in which these inspectors operate — particularly the ease with which they move between industry and government."

She added: "We discovered that the individuals involved in the fraternizing and gift exchange — both government and industry — have often known one another since childhood."

MMS Lake Charles District Manager Larry Williamson told IG investigators that many of the MMS inspectors had worked for the oil and gas industry and continued to be friends with industry representatives.

"Obviously, we’re all oil industry," he said. "Almost all of our inspectors have worked for oil companies out on these same platforms. They grew up in the same towns. Some of these people, they’ve been friends with all their life. They’ve been with these people since they were kids. They’ve hunted together. They fish together. They skeet shoot together. … They do this all the time."

The horror! Obviously, the only trustworthy regulators would be graduates of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School Of Government, who have never had a moment’s experience in the oil industry.

A source told IG investigators that oil and gas officials on the platforms had filled out inspection forms, which would then be completed or signed by an MMS inspector.

The IG also "found a culture where the acceptance of gifts from oil and gas companies were widespread throughout that office," although that has improved in recent years, the report says.

Two employees at the Lake Charles office also admitted to using illegal drugs during their employment at MMS. The IG found that many of the inspectors had e-mails that contained inappropriate humor and pornography on their government computers.

Since when has the New York Times been against pornography and drugs? Of course the real crime here is the “fraternizing.”

And between June and July 2008, one MMS inspector conducted four inspections of offshore platforms while in the process of negotiating and later accepting employment with that company.

Gosh! Let’s hope such chicanery never happens on Capitol Hill in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

While the report was not due to be released yet, Kendall said in light of the Gulf disaster, she felt compelled to release it now. The investigation was sparked by an anonymous letter in October 2008 to the U.S. attorney’s office in New Orleans alleging that a number of MMS employees had accepted gifts from companies.

What excellent timing! Just when the administration needed some fall guys.

The IG presented the findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana, which declined prosecution, the report says.

The report is a follow-up to a blockbuster IG report released in 2008 that detailed a sex, drugs and illegal gifts scandal at MMS.

So, in the end,, nothing nothing has really been done about the problems. No one seems to have been held accountable. How unlike a government agency.

Still, the obvious solution is to give the MMS even more power and responsibilities — and, of course, more hard-working employees to help them with their expanded workload.

A former MMS inspector sent an e-mail with pictures of the company plane on which he, an oil company official and others flew to Atlanta for the 2005 Peach Bowl game.

"E-mails for MMS inspectors from the Lake Charles office revealed that in 2005, 2006, and 2007, various offshore companies invited MMS personnel to events such as skeet-shooting contests, hunting and fishing trips, golf tournaments, crawfish boils, and Christmas parties," the report says.

One former MMS official wrote an e-mail saying he had "good friends" in the industry that he "wouldn’t write up." …

The IG found numerous instances of pornography and other inappropriate material on the e-mail accounts of 13 employees, six of whom have resigned. There were 314 instances in which the seven remaining employees received or forwarded pornographic images and links from their government e-mail.

An MMS clerical employee told investigators that she began using cocaine and methamphetamine with an inspector when she started working at the agency about two years ago. The MMS inspector admitted that while he did not use the drug at work, he might have been under the influence of crystal methamphetamine at work after using it the night before

Isn’t it against federal regulations, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act, to fire people for using drugs? — And, for that matter, for using pornography?

"The Inspector General report describes reprehensible activities of employees of MMS between 2000 and 2008," [Interior Secretary Ken] Salazar said in a statement. "This deeply disturbing report is further evidence of the cozy relationship between some elements of MMS and the oil and gas industry."

Isn’t it “deeply disturbing” that nothing seems to have been done about these problems in all those years? And isn’t it also “deeply disturbing” that every government agency seems to be rife with similar problems?

But all these lurid details aside, notice how when the Democrats and their media minions take the rare course of criticizing a federal agency, the absolute worse thing they can think to accuse it of is that it is too close to the private sector.

That’s what they did with the SEC (banking ‘meltdown’), and the Department Of Transportation (Toyota recall) and many others.

You can read the IG report (a pdf file) here. Sorry, there don’t seem to be any photographs.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, May 27th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “IG Finds Fraternizing, Porn, Drugs At MMS”

  1. JohnMG says:

    I guess none of this poor behavior has occurred since the end of 2008. Notice how it all took place during the Bush-Cheney years. They were soooo corrupt it has taken this long for the Obama forces to begin cleaning up this nest of vipers. (/sarc)

  2. proreason says:

    More bodies under the bus.

    The 2 mistakes better not be in the line of fire when the country becomes aware of the Moron’s latest screw-up.

  3. Chinnubie says:

    When the “One” gets down there later today, on his way to his vacation spot for the second time since this spill began, he can just speak and the spill will hear him and stop!! He suppossed to be able to lower the sea level so, this should be an easy one just “Plug that Damn thing, Up”

    MG I was thinking the exact same thing!! If they can’t blame Bush there is no comment or they find a way to blame the previous administration.

    • jobeth says:

      “And the Lord said…” and it was so…..

      Obalmy did say he was the one we were waiting for. Nothing is too hard for god junior.

    • JohnMG says:

      We should co-opt his words, though, with one slight edit.

      “Just plug your damned hole!”

  4. Reality Bytes says:

    Yeah OK! So gettin’ a hummer in the Oval Office is a personal matter but boobies on your PC is a gross violation of national security.


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