Not safe for work computers: At the Interior Dept or otherwise

Stories about unethical behavior at the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service just keep on coming. Back in high school I learned that Shakespeare’s plays always have violence, sex, or drugs in the first act, and this story has all three. It keeps the attention of even the least intelligent among us which explains why, my friends, this scandal ain’t going nowhere anytime soon.

From the Rocky Mountain News:

Federal officials in Lakewood used illicit drugs, had inappropriate sex, and took ski and golf vacations from oil and gas executives who paid billions in royalties to the government office, an investigator said Wednesday.

Earl E. Devaney, the Interior Department’s inspector general, detailed in three reports released Wednesday how 13 former and current employees worked in a party-like atmosphere inside the Lakewood headquarters of the department’s Minerals Management Service.

The employees rigged contracts, worked part time as private oil consultants, accepted trips and dinners from oil and gas executives in addition to having sexual relationships with them, the reports allege.

The investigations reveal a “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” by a small group of individuals “wholly lacking in acceptance of or adherence to government ethical standards,” wrote Devaney, whose office spent more than two years and $5.3 million on the investigation.

Whoa. The Rocky also had this gem from Devaney: “Sexual relationships with prohibited sources cannot, by definition, be arm’s-length.” Thanks for clarifying that, Earl.

And the violence? From the Rocky’s excerpts of two of three reports issued by the U.S. Interior Department’s inspector general:

* Drugs and sex involving Gregory Smith, a program director in the department’s Royalty in Kind program.

“According to the (confidential source), Smith engaged in sex and drug use with (Royalty In Kind) subordinates.

“We interviewed yet another RIK employee who stated that in approximately 2005, Smith ‘insisted’ that she ride in his car from one business establishment to another, and she agreed. ‘He wanted to have sex; I said no,’ she recalled. Smith then asked if she would have oral sex with him, but she told him she did not want to. She said Smith then ‘basically forced [her] head into his lap,’ and she performed oral sex on him while he drove the car slowly.”

Double-whoa. I feel dirty just writing about this.

Senator Salazar has asked for a Congressional investigation into the matter saying, ““it is imperative that committee members have the opportunity to question Sec. Kempthorne regarding these allegations and the specific steps his agency is taking to implement and comply with recommendations spelled out in the Inspector General’s report.”

And, FYI, one of the people under investigation bragged that she made more money from her sex toy business than from her job with the Interior — Department, I mean. Sorry, everything sounds dirty now. And that link is definitely “Not Safe For Work.”

Ok, I’m going to go take a shower now and try to clean all this nastiness off. Eww.

Colorado Independent’s blogumnist (blogger-columnist) Jeff Bridges has worked in Democratic politics for the last 10 years, serving as communications director for two congressional races in Colorado and two governor’s races in the Deep South. Bridges also worked as a legislative assistant in Washington, D.C., with a focus on military and small business issues.

Read Jeff’s latest commentaries.

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