A new Interior Department Inspector General report details serious shenanigans at the Minerals Management Service office responsible for the "royalty-in-kind" program, including the acceptance of gifts from industry, cronyism, and "a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity," including illicit drug use and sexual relations with energy company representatives. (It even sounds worse than the Ohio Attorney General's office under Marc Dann.) . As the Washington Post reports:
Investigators from the Interior Department's inspector general's office said more than a dozen employees, including the former director of the oil royalty program, took meals, ski trips, sports tickets and golf outings from industry representatives. The report alleges that the former director, Gregory W. Smith, also netted more than $30,000 from improper outside work. . . .MMS officials are supposed to maintain "arms length" relationships with energy company officials yet, as the report noted, "Sexual relationships with prohibited sources cannot, by definition, be arms-length."
n the report released yesterday, investigators said they "discovered a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity" in which employees accepted gratuities "with prodigious frequency." The report cited one e-mail from a Shell Pipeline representative asking a woman in the royalty office to attend "tailgating festivities" at a Houston Texans football game: "You're invited . . . have you and the girls meet at my place at 6am for bubble baths and final prep. Just kidding."
Besides Shell, the energy company employees mentioned in the report worked for Chevron, Hess and Gary-Williams Energy. The social outings detailed in the report included alcohol-, cocaine- and marijuana-filled parties where certain employees of the Minerals Management Service were nicknamed the "MMS Chicks" by the energy employees. The companies paid for federal workers to attend football and baseball games, PGA Tour events, Colorado ski trips, paintball outings and "treasure hunts," investigators found.
In response, Interior Department Dirk Kempthorne is promising reform.