Thirteen government officials in charge of handling billions of dollars in oil royalties in the United States Department of the Interior have been accused of corruption and ethical improprieties.
The charges include accepting gifts like ski trips and dinners from oil companies, working as oil consultants on the side, and being involved in drugs, alcohol, and sexual relationships with members of the oil companies.
Inspector General Earl E. Devaney commented that these actions demonstrate a "culture of substance abuse and promiscuity" performed by a group of people "wholly lacking in acceptance of or adherence to government ethical standards."
Denver Minerals Management Service is where many of those accused were employed. It is there that oil companies, instead of paying cash, barter oil and natural gas for the rights to drill on federal lands. Since these natural resources are to be used in the United States Oil Reserve or for government profit, it is unknown how much damage may have been caused by these transgressions.;
Already accused of mismanaging the collection of fees from oil companies and writing faulty contracts, these new allegations cause many to wonder how much these favors and illicit relationships within the department will end up harming consumers.