Thursday, September 21, 2006

Money For Nothing

Ahhh, the old oil lease scam. And this has nothing to do with the $65 billion giveaway plan the Interior Department is contemplating. NYTimes (09.21.06):
"Four government auditors who monitor leases for oil and gas on federal property say the Interior Department suppressed their efforts to recover millions of dollars from companies they said were cheating the government." Suits Say U.S. Impeded Audits for Oil Leases
"The auditors contend that they were blocked by their bosses from pursuing more than $30 million in fraudulent underpayments of royalties for oil produced in publicly owned waters in the Gulf of Mexico. "The new accusations surfaced just one week after the Interior Department’s inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, told a House subcommittee that 'short of crime, anything goes' at the top levels of the Interior Department." Oh we're thinking if you looked just a wee bit harder, you'd find your share of indictable offenses. The Interior Department's response was predictable. "On Wednesday, Interior officials denied that the agency had suppressed any valid claims and implied that the auditors simply wanted a share of any money recovered through their lawsuits." As in they can't understand how it could be that the auditors are motivated by something other than money.


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