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New: Unredacted DOI IG Report to Salazar on MMS (Gulf Region) Employees' Behavior

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posted on May, 26 2010 @ 06:20 PM
This is an unredacted Inspector General report dated 5/24/10 and posted to the web yesterday, 5/25/10. It apparently was supposed to be redacted so you better read it quick before they figure out the mistake. For those of you who don't know, MMS stands for Minerals Management Service and is the agency responsible for regulating the oil industry. This report details occurrences in the Lake Charles, LA Regional Office - the office responsible for the Gulf of Mexico.

This is an IG report from
This report has a disclosure that states: "This report contains information that has been redacted pursuant to 5 U.S.C. §§ 552(b)(6) and (b)(7)(C) of the Freedom of Information Act. Supporting documentation for this report may be obtained by sending a written request to the OIG Freedom of Information Office."

However, it doesn't have anything, including names of people, redacted.

United States Department of the Interior
Washington, DC 20240

To: Secretary Salazar
From: Mary L. Kendall
Acting Inspector General

I find the second paragraph amusing...

With this memorandum, I am forwarding our investigative report entitled "Island Operating Company, et. al" which addresses a number of allegations that Minerals Management Service (MMS) employees at the Lake Charles District Office had accepted gifts from oil-and gas production companies.

At the outset, I want to note that all of the conduct chronicled in this report occurred prior to 2007, and pre-dating your tenure as Secretary and your January 2009 Ethics Guide. While this conduct is dated, it is more evidence that there was, indeed, a much-needed change to the ethical culture of MMS.

I guess, when you ask the Inspector General to do an investigation, you can also ask that they only investigate occurrences "before your tenure"... Typical...

Ok, now on to the findings (I'll just recap here, read the document for more info):


Of greatest concern to me is the environment in which these inspectors operate - particularly the ease with which they move between industry and government. While not included in our report, we discovered that the individuals involved in the fraternizing and gift exchange - both government and industry - have often known one another since childhood. Their relationships were formed well before they took their jobs with industry or government. MMS relies on the ability to hire employees with industry experience. I am pleased that MMS has advised us that it will enhance ethics training specifically for its inspectors to address this unique industry/government dilemma, and will establish controls, like a two year waiting period, to minimize the potential for conflicts of interest.

During our investigation, we reviewed hundreds of e-mails and financial disclosure reports from MMS employees. We also interviewed 15 MMS inspectors and supervisors. We developed confidential sources during our investigation, who provided additional information pertaining to MMS employees at the Lake Charles District Office, including acceptance of a trip to the 2005 Peach Bowl game that was paid for by an oil and gas company; illicit drug use; misuse of government computers; and inspection report falsification. During our review of MMS employee e-mails, we also obtained information that an MMS employee was negotiating for employment with the IOC while he was still performing inspections on platforms operated by the company.

Gifts and Gratuities - Definitely illustrates that things are, whoops, I mean were pretty comfortable between the oil industry and those regulating them. These are just some of them, the report goes on and on about this.

E-mails for MMS inspectors from the Lake Charles office revealed that in 2005, 2006, and 2007, various offshore companies invited MMS personnel to events such as skeet-shooting contests, hunting and fishing trips, golf tournaments, crawfish boils, and Christmas parties. Some e-mails confirmed that MMS inspectors attended these events.

In an e-mail dated January 3, 2006, to other MMS employees, the former MMS inspector at the Lake Charles office stated, “The 40 to 3 ass whipping LSU put on Miami was a lot more impressive in person. My daughter and I had a blast”. The next day, the inspector sent another e-mail attaching pictures, including the plane on which he, and an oil and gas production company official, and others flew to Atlanta for the 2005 Peach Bowl game.

Illegal Drug Use - A claim (not proven) by a clerical employee that she knew someone who used meth, possibly while on an offshore platform.

In addition to providing information about the Peach Bowl trip, the confidential source claimed that an MMS inspector had used drugs, including crystal methamphetamine. The source claimed to have heard that this inspector might have used these drugs offshore on the platforms.

Inappropriate Use of Government E-Mail - Meh... ok... they did break the rules...

We reviewed the e-mail accounts of MMS employees at the Lake Charles and New Orleans offices from 2005 to 2009. We found numerous instances of pornography and other inappropriate material on the e-mail accounts of 13 employees, six of whom have resigned. We specifically discovered 314 instances where the seven remaining employees received or forwarded pornographic images and links to Internet websites containing pornographic videos to other federal employees and individuals outside of the office using their government e-mail accounts.

Falsification of Inspection Forms - This is the biggie, in my opinion:

Another confidential source told investigators that some MMS inspectors had allowed oil and gas production company personnel located on the platform to fill out inspection forms. The forms would then be completed or signed by the inspector and turned in for review. According to the source, operating company personnel completed the inspection forms using pencils, and MMS inspectors would write on top of the pencil in ink and turn in the completed form.

We reviewed a total of 556 files to look for any alteration of pencil and ink markings, notations, or signatures. We found a small number with pencil and ink variations; however, we could not discern if any fraudulent alterations were present on these forms. According to a lead MMS inspector, MMS inspectors often used pencil to complete inspection forms. He said that anyone from MMS involved in the platform inspections could author the inspection form, and inspectors routinely signed each other’s names on the forms.

Seeking Employment - Another biggie, in my opinion.

During our review of MMS employee e-mails, we found several referencing employment discussions between a former MMS inspector and the IOC.

In a June 12, 2008 e-mail, an IOC employee, told a former MMS inspector the IOC would like to hire him in the compliance department. In an e-mail dated June 16, 2008, the inspector discussed his excitement about coming back to work for the business with another IOC employee. The inspector said, “I’m excited about coming back to work with IOC. Do you think [an IOC official] would go with $65,000 a year? And all the trimmings you told me about.” The IOC employee replied on June 17, 2008, “Yes I think [he] will. When you hire on you will talk to him”. On June 19, 2008, the IOC employee urged the inspector to come to the IOC and meet with “[an IOC official]” regarding potential employment.

Agent’s Note: The inspector resigned from MMS on August 8, 2008, to work for the IOC.

Then this:

This investigation was initiated in 2006 based on allegations made by Chris Oynes, Regional Director, Gulf of Mexico Region (GOMR), Minerals Management Service (MMS), U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), New Orleans. Oynes alleged that Donald C. Howard, Regional Supervisor, GOMR, had attended one or more hunting trips with officials of offshore oil and gas companies.

The investigation disclosed that between August 2004 and July 2006, Howard accepted an offshore fishing trip, two hunting trips involving transportation on a company airplane, meals, and other gifts from Rowan Drilling Company, Inc. (Rowan), an offshore drilling contractor affected by MMS regulations and decisions. These gifts were valued at approximately $6,678.

Howard failed to report at least one of these gifts as required on a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (Form OGE-450) he submitted to MMS in October 2005. Subsequent to receiving these gifts, and at the apparent request of Rowan, Howard improperly issued a letter directing Rowan to salvage the Rowan Halifax, a Rowan-operated, offshore drilling rig that sank in the GOMR during Hurricane Rita in September 2005. At the time, this letter appeared to be integral to Rowan’s efforts to collect $90 million in insurance proceeds related to the sinking of the Rowan Halifax and other Rowan drilling rigs.

Now, don't you feel better that all of this was BEFORE Salazar's time??

[edit on 26/5/2010 by Iamonlyhuman]

posted on May, 26 2010 @ 07:02 PM
Holy Cra#!
The corruption has layers of corruption, buried beneath layers of corruption!
Our current regime will do nothing about this! Just like the past 5 corrupt Administrations!
When will the sheeple shed their wool?
If they do not wake up in in time, we'll all be in the slaughter house.
I for one, coming this November and ALL of the following elections, will vote out all incumbents!
This is the only peaceful option.
Edit for S&F!

[edit on 26-5-2010 by Violater1]

posted on May, 26 2010 @ 07:14 PM
reply to post by Violater1

Well, unfortunately, voting out political incumbents will do little to affect this, although it's a good thought.
These actions were done by career bureaucrats whose jobs remain from administration to administration.

[edit on 26/5/2010 by Iamonlyhuman]

posted on May, 26 2010 @ 07:49 PM
Incredible. But of course - things are "different" now...

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