Employees of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) were supposed to be collecting billions in royalties from energy companies extracting resources from public land but, according to the Interior Department’s inspector general, they were having sex and using drugs with company employees instead.
In addition they were happily accepting gifts that included ski trips, football and baseball games, PGA tournaments, paintball outings and treasure hunts.
Wrapping up a two-year investigation of the MMS office in Denver, the inspector general described the agency as a “culture of ethical failure.”
Critics often accuse Bush administration regulators of being in bed with regulated companies, be they oil drillers, coal miners, toymakers, drugmakers or bankers. Little did they know it was happening literally.
Wrote the inspector general: “Employees frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and natural gas company representatives,” who dubbed the bureaucrats the “MMS chicks.”
As The USA Today editorial says, ‘Congress should ensure that everyone who deserved to be fired has been dismissed and that every penny owed by the energy companies is paid. If those companies expect expanded access to state and federal lands for exploration, they’ll need to provide more adult supervision of their employees. And if this administration can’t manage to keep federal workers out of late-night comedy monologues, perhaps the next one can.’