“Talk about awkward timing,” said USA Today in an editorial. Just as Congress is set to approve more offshore drilling, the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service office gets embroiled in a cocaine-and-sex-tinged corruption scandal straight “out of a ‘bureaucrats gone wild’ video.” The “MMS chicks” and other employees allegedly partied and slept with employees of the oil firms they were supposed to get royalties from. Talk about “being in bed with regulated companies.”
What do you expect when energy industry lobbyists are tapped to fill the department’s top positions? said The New York Times in an editorial. The Interior Department’s inspector general already found billions in uncollected royalties in 2007. Now it’s clear that the entire MMS program—which collects oil and gas in lieu of cash—“needs a complete overhaul.”
The “criminal abuse” at the Denver-based agency is “mind-blowing,” said the Hartford Courant in an editorial, but unless Congress acts, at least two of the “most egregious abusers” will avoid prosecution. Unbelievably, MMS officials claim the gifts and socializing didn’t affect their “official business.” That “punch line” should be tried out in court.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
- America is building a Sunni army in Iraq to take on the Islamic State
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- The liberation of Barack Obama
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The age of miracles is over — even for the religious
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Subscribe to the Week