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The inspector general also urged the administration to take action against several of the officials in the royalty-in-kind program who accepted gifts from the oil companies, by firing them or banning them for life from certain positions. Several have already been transferred out of the program but remain on the government payroll, the report said.
But two of the highest-ranking officials who were subjects of the investigations will apparently escape penalty. Both retired during the investigation, rendering them safe from any administrative punishment, and the Justice Department has declined to prosecute them on the charges suggested by the inspector general.