Sex, Ethics Scandal Rocks Interior Dept. Oil Agency

Probes reveal sex, drugs, improper dealings in 'culture of ethical failure'
By Michael Foreman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2008 5:15 PM CDT
Sex, Ethics Scandal Rocks Interior Dept. Oil Agency
An agency of the Interior Department is accused of wide-ranging ethical lapses.   (AP Photo)

It's not quite the Interior Department Gone Wild, but it's not that far off, either. A dozen current and former employees of the departmental agency that deals with oil and gas royalties have been accused of having sex with reps of the energy industry, illegally accepting gifts, using cocaine in the office, and steering lucrative contracts to friends in defiance of conflict-of-interest rules, the New York Times reports.

The department's inspector general said the Minerals Management Service operated in a "culture of ethical failure" in three reports issued to Congress today. At least one employee named has pleaded guilty to conflict-of-interest charges and faces up to 5 years in prison for rigging a consulting contract to go to himself upon retirement. The Justice Department will decide whether to prosecute others, two of whom retired in the midst of the 2-year investigation.
(Read more Department of the Interior stories.)

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