Minerals Management Service Corrupted Under The Bush Administration

by Ben Hoffman

WASHINGTON (AP) — Staff members at an agency that oversees offshore drilling accepted tickets to sports events, lunches and other gifts from oil and gas companies and used government computers to view pornography, according to an Interior Department report alleging a culture of cronyism between regulators and the industry.

The report began as a routine investigation, the acting inspector general, Mary Kendall, said in a cover letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, whose department includes the agency.

“Unfortunately, given the events of April 20 of this year, this report had become anything but routine, and I feel compelled to release it now,” she wrote.

Her biggest concern is the ease with which minerals agency employees move between industry and government, Kendall said. While no specifics were included in the report, “we discovered that the individuals involved in the fraternizing and gift exchange – both government and industry – have often known one another since childhood,” Kendall said.

Their relationships took precedence over their jobs, Kendall said.The report follows a 2008 report by then-Inspector General Earl Devaney that decried a “culture of ethical failure” and conflicts of interest at the minerals agency.

The report covers activities between 2000 and 2008. Salazar said he has asked Kendall to expand her investigation to look into agency actions since he took office in January 2009.

The report said that employees from the Lake Charles, La., MMS office had repeatedly accepted gifts, including hunting and fishing trips from the Island Operating Company, an oil and gas company working on oil platforms regulated by the Interior Department.

Taking such gifts “appears to have been a generally accepted practice,” the report said.

Two employees at the Lake Charles office admitted using illegal drugs, and many inspectors had e-mails that contained inappropriate humor and pornography on their government computers, the report said.

One MMS inspector conducted four inspections of Island Operating platforms while negotiating and later accepting employment with the company, the report said.

Read more…

Right-wingers are trying to blame the oil spill on Obama, claiming “it’s his Katrina.” This is not Obama’s Katrina. This is Bush’s Katrina: The Sequel.

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10 Comments to “Minerals Management Service Corrupted Under The Bush Administration”

  1. This isnt Obama’s fault nor is it Bush’s. This is simply the fault of BP’s. But there is fault that does lie with both Bush and Obama, as well as all former Presidents who took the “bribe”.

    I did not expect you to come out with words on this Minerals Management Report that was conducted 10 days prior to the BP rig exploding. This very report has been requested by pretty much every Republican and some Democrats in office but the Obama administration will not release it. Why? Considering what you just wrote about, why do you think Obama wont release it?

    Bottom line is that you are right about this corruption but it didnt end with Obama. And if you think it did, then you are living in la-la land. Though the oil industry as a whole historically donates most of their money into GOP candidates, it is also very true that BP goes the other way. BP contributed more to Obama and the democrats and historically has done so. And in between these great donations from BP, the very rig that exploded received an award for being so compliant and safe, then got an exemption soon after from federal inspections. Go figure!

    • [This isnt Obama’s fault nor is it Bush’s. This is simply the fault of BP’s]

      No, this is a failure of the free market experiment during the Bush administration. The MMS was not only corrupted During the Bush administration, the oil industry wrote the rules in back-door secret meetings with Cheney.

      As with FEMA, the MMS was rendered impotent by the Bush administration. Laws without enforcement are useless. BP was was allowed to police itself. As we’ve seen with the banks, industries are not self-regulating. They exist to make profit and will do what ever it takes to increase profits.

      Obama is to blame for not reforming the MMS, but government tends to be reactive, not proactive. It took a major disaster to raise some eyebrows.

  2. Mr. Hoffman,

    Every President gets blindsided by unprecedented disasters that nobody saw coming. President Bush had 911 and Katrina. President Obama is more concerned with avoiding blame than he is with dealing with the disaster. Even Democrats, especially the ones who live around the affected coasts, have stopped making excuses for your hero .

    Days ago some State and local officials wanted to take actions to mitigate the oil coming into the marshes and could not get the EPA permits to try to do anything. Not only is your hero not effectively dealing with the crisis, his officials are blocking others from doing anything .

    • [Every President gets blindsided by unprecedented disasters that nobody saw coming. President Bush had 911 and Katrina.]

      There was plenty of warning for 9/11. No matter how many times you repeat the lie that nobody saw it coming, it will never be true. But not only did Bush let bin Laden get away, he used the attack for political purposes and to advance his agenda.

      As far as Katrina, people went for days without food and water. The people suffering were shown on TV live at the same time Bush was congratulating Brown for doing a “heck of a job.”

      The BP oil rig disaster is the result of lax oversight and the policy of the oil companies being allowed to do the inspections themselves. That’s the doing of the Bush administration.

      There’s no good solution now. The government doesn’t have the equipment to work nearly a mile below the surface of the ocean, so we’re at the mercy of BP to fix the leak.

      Your hero Bush has destroyed much of our country and continues to destroy it though his corruption of government and gross incompetence.

  3. Mr. Hoffman,

    You and your crowd continue to spread inaccuracies. The Banking and Oil industries were heavily regulated . I’m amazed at how often you keep repeating the same crap. The trouble was not deregulation. The trouble was incompetent and corrupt regulators. In the case of Banking, I will continue to say this. It was ” your heroes ” who corrupted Fannie and Freddie and allowed the disease of bad mortgages to start entering the system. I’ve given you plenty of proof on this . You’ve never refuted it .

    As far as the oil industry, your hero was in office for a year and a quarter when this BP spill happened. If things were so bad with the regulators, why did the Obama officials fail to take notice or action.

    Surely a year and 3 months is more than enough time to know what is going on at the Interior Department.

    ” There was plenty of warning for 9/11. No matter how many times you repeat the lie that nobody saw it coming, it will never be true. But not only did Bush let bin Laden get away, he used the attack for political purposes and to advance his agenda. ”

    No matter if you post this a thousand more times, it will still be false. There was no specific intelligence on 911 . There was a flood of non specific stuff that a lot of lying clowns like Clarke used to say after the fact that they predicted it. Again you are blinded by your hate. It really is as simple as that.

    As far as Katrina, Bush was let down by local officials, much as Obama was let down by BP’s assurances that they could handle it . In case you forgot,,,Bush did fully mobilize all resources after about a week. It’s been over 30 days with Obama and he still can’t get in gear. Why is that ??

    At any rate we have strayed from my point, which is much more important than what you have said. After the unexpected crisis happens a President must act . You don’t like what Bush did after 911 and Katrina, but he did not just stand around and whine it wasn’t his fault. He mapped out a course of action and went forward. Besides bitching about BP and now the regulators and sending “swat teams ” to check other rigs, what is Obama doing to stop the oil?

    I bet Bush and Cheney would have handled this little problem by now . They would not be throwing tantrums like I hear your hero is doing .

    What they hell does a Community Organizer know about handling an emergency ? What makes him qualified to be in charge during this catastrophe?

    • [Again you are blinded by your hate.]

      Yeah, I hate it when bad things happen to our country.

      [what is Obama doing to stop the oil?]

      What do you suggest? That he swim down there and stick his finger in the leak?

      [I bet Bush and Cheney would have handled this little problem by now . They would not be throwing tantrums like I hear your hero is doing .]

      I bet you jack off to pictures of Bush and Cheney.

  4. Ben, what do you know about FBI intelligence? Pre or post 9/11? I am no expert either but I do have a close family connection who is a Director for Homeland Security and I can tell you that there are 9/11-type threats and intel that comes through every day. If you knew 1/10 of the threats that come through, folks would never leave your house and that is why they arent broadcasted in the media. Thankfully, a vast majority of them are not funded well enough to happen or are false threats, but all are investigated thoroughly. One thing we learned quickly after 9/11 is that we needed to fix the communication barriers between agencies among many other things. And who ever said no one saw 9/11 coming? Of course there was chatter, among thousands of others chatters, about it and ever since the USS Cole, there has even been a seperate task team assigned to them.

    When did Bush let Bin Laden go? In a Senate report, it was mentioned that Bin Laden had been in reach of our great military in 2001. But to let go of something, Ben, you must have them first. Just because you discover you were close to someone in the past doesnt mean you let them go. But now that you mentioned it, Sudan had and offered up both Bin Laden and 9/11 mastermind Ayman Zawahiri multiple times to President Clinton who never took them up on it.

    As far as Katrina goes, the Governor in Louisiana denied both support from the Federal Government and Florida before the hurricane ever hit. She clearly stated that they would be able to handle it. This after Katrina went over my head here in south Florida and was sitting in the gulf. I do think the FEMA still should have been ready to move maybe a day sooner, but to expect them there on day 1 isnt reality.

    And you are very misinformed. There are federal inspections on oil rigs and this rig even received an award from the Obama Administration just months prior to the explosion. How do you explain that one? Did Bush send Obama a memo demanding the award? There are many different forms of inspections when it comes to oil rigs, not just the Minerals Management report, which Obama wont hand over. Too bad we cant drill closer to shore on on shore. If this was on land or in much shallower waters, it would have been capped within and hour.

    • [One thing we learned quickly after 9/11 is that we needed to fix the communication barriers between agencies among many other things.]

      And that never happened.

      [When did Bush let Bin Laden go? In a Senate report, it was mentioned that Bin Laden had been in reach of our great military in 2001. But to let go of something, Ben, you must have them first.]

      I never said Bush let him go. I said Bush let him get away. Which he did. At Tora Bora.

      [As far as Katrina goes, the Governor in Louisiana denied both support from the Federal Government and Florida before the hurricane ever hit.]

      And they would have been able to handle it if the levies didn’t break. It was after the breach when Bush’s incompetence really shined through. To most people, anyway.

      [There are federal inspections on oil rigs and this rig even received an award from the Obama Administration just months prior to the explosion. How do you explain that one?]

      You’re a liar. It was the MMS that gave the rig an award for safety. As far as the safety inspections, again you lied.

      LOS ANGELES – The federal agency responsible for ensuring that the Deepwater Horizon was operating safely before it exploded last month fell well short of its own policy that the rig be inspected at least once per month, an Associated Press investigation shows.

      In fact, the agency’s inspection frequency on the Deepwater Horizon fell dramatically over the past five years, according to federal Minerals Management Service records. The rig blew up April 20, killing 11 people before sinking and triggering a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

      Earlier AP investigations have shown that the doomed rig was allowed to operate without safety documentation required by MMS regulations for the exact disaster scenario that occurred; that the cutoff valve which failed has repeatedly broken down at other wells in the years since regulators weakened testing requirements; and that regulation is so lax that some key safety aspects on rigs are decided almost entirely by the companies doing the work.

      Source

      [There are many different forms of inspections when it comes to oil rigs, not just the Minerals Management report, which Obama wont hand over.]

      Since the sited article in the OP is about the report, how could it be that Obama won’t turn it over?

  5. Mr. Hoffman,

    ” What do you suggest? That he swim down there and stick his finger in the leak? ”

    That is a very good suggestion, but I was thinking more of President Obama going down to the Gulf Coast, say maybe 3 freaking weeks ago. Call in the Chief Executives of the States who are directly threatened and have a council of war.

    Coordinate personally with the Governors, their State agencies and all of the Federal ones . Maybe experienced Governors actually have ideas which could limit the damage. Like maybe Governor Jindal shouldn’t have to wait weeks for Obama’s EPA to make a decision on his barrier island idea.

    I bet President Bush would not have stopped a Democrat Governor from a project that could have saved precious wetlands.

    And don’t tell me it would not work, because you and Obama do not know that .

  6. Nick-
    You are a stud. Your debating has become stellar. You are doing a great job with your fact-checking and research. Hoffman is an above-average liberal debater and you win 90 per cent of the time. Plus, you debate in a gentlemanly way. Keep up the good fight! Hoffman-keep giving him good practice. Your role in his development is important as well. November baby!!

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