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Interior Department Ethics and the Energy Bill

September 16, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

House Democrats are responding to the sex, drugs (and rock n’ roll?) scandal in the Interior Department as part of their new comprehensive energy bill.

The Hill reports:

>The House energy bill is seeking to strengthen ethics rules at the Interior Department following an internal report showing that some employees accepted gifts from energy companies.
>The legislation instructs the Secretary of the Interior to initiate robust ethics training programs and puts in place a strict gift ban for employees in Minerals Management Service (MSS). Employees or representatives from the gas or oil companies found to have knowingly violated the ban will be subject to stiff financial penalties and possibly jail time.
>“Royalties are one of the largest sources of revenue for the federal government after taxes. The Interior Department’s Inspector General just reported on a range of illegal and unethical behaviors plaguing the MMS, including accepting gifts, meals, and drinks from industry representatives; instances of illegal drug use among employees; sexual relationships between MMS employees and representatives of oil and gas companies; and violations of federal procurement regulations, which clearly put taxpayer dollars at risk, such as steering lucrative contracts to former employees in the private sector,” said a release from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) on Tuesday.

More info on the new energy bill can be seen here.

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