May 25th, 2010
01:18 PM ET
12 years ago

Oil rig inspectors took company gifts, watchdog finds

Washington (CNN) - Federal inspectors overseeing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico accepted meals and tickets to sporting events from companies they monitored, according to a new report from the Interior Department's inspector general.

In one case, an inspector in the Minerals Management Service office in Lake Charles, Louisiana, conducted inspections of four offshore platforms while negotiating a job with the company, the report states. Others in the same office accepted tickets to the 2005 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, a college football bowl game. One inspector said, "Everyone has gotten some sort of gift before at some point" from companies they regulated, according to the report.

"Through numerous interviews, we found a culture where the acceptance of gifts from oil and gas companies were widespread throughout that office," the report states. But that culture waned after a supervisor in the agency's New Orleans, Louisiana, regional office was fired for taking a gift from a regulated company in 2007.

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Filed under: Energy • Minerals Management Service
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Jeff in Houston

    Sounds like a good old boy Bush Chenney appointment to me.

    May 25, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Joe

    How about Obama?

    May 25, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Holding Up A Mirror

    I'm willing to attribute the cultural climate at the MMS to the prior administration ... the Bush / Cheney administration. It takes time to purge slag out of the pipeline.

    We know that Dick Cheney arranged secret closed door meetings with oil industry executives when he was Vice President. We know that both Bush and Cheney were "oil men". The reasonable person gives the benefit of the doubt to the Obama administration over the Bush Administration in terms of who is on the side of "BIG OIL".

    But now that this corruption and mismanagement is clear, the administration will need to do a thorough job of clensing to restore honor and integrity to the Department of the Interior. If Obama thinks people will be "fair" to him ... he's wrong. He's going to have to have a professional manager ... not a political hack like Salazar .... fix this.

    May 25, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Randall M.

    Corruption, it's not just in poor countries. Shame on America.

    May 25, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  5. Tulsa

    2005? 2007? REALLY? During the BUSH administration? Imagine that, republicans pandering to oil companies and letting them get by with, well, MURDER.

    May 25, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Angus McDugan

    Good ol' socialist government at its finest.

    May 25, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Ryan

    Of course they did. And they have an entire army that protects the special interest groups and Corporate greed – it's called the Republican Party. There is nothing in their platform that has ever NOT protected Corporate greed – Ever. Period. In History.

    And when the Republican neo-con movement failed soooo miserably like it has in the past few years, they found it easier to simply re-brand themselves as "tea baggers" in hopes that the public would disassociate their failures from the root of the problem. THEM.

    May 25, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Leslie

    And that's a surprise?????

    May 25, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. Brenda

    Yet, where is the investigation/report about how much money Obama received from BP and all other oil companies.

    Obama received more money from oil companies--then any politician EVER-–but CNN does not do a story about this.

    Do your job CNN-–report on how much money Obama received from BP and the other oil companies.

    May 25, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Bobert

    And I'm sure the Obama Administration's answer is: more government regulators!

    May 25, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. GI Joe


    Is this kinda like Haliburton giving Cheney $34 million when he was put in the VP position?

    May 25, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Dano

    Whooops now the you-know-what has hit the fan. We all know how things work in America. The cozy relationship between regulators and the industries they are supposed to be regulating goes along smoothly until something bad happens. Now there will be numerous investigations, much finger pointing, and in the end some low level flunky will be assigned the blame for the whole mess.

    May 25, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Surprise, surprise.

    Your government in action.

    The amazing thing is that some of you more naive souls still think government is ever anything other than corrupt or that those employed by it are ever anything but incompetent, self-serving, dolts.

    People in government have no incentive to do their jobs, or even do them at all. They just about can't be fired and their jobs are frequently nebulous make-work associated with positions created by more senior dolts for the sole purpose of justifying a larger staff, a larger budget, and, accordingly, a promotion and a larger pay-check for themselves.

    May 25, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It sounds like the people who were overseeing these companies should have a stronger set of ethic rules. I hope that they can be forced to pay back the value of the gifts and the pay they earned during the time that they received these gifts. If they are unwilling to do that and not take bribes like this again, then fire them, jail them and make sure what ever pension they had is gone. They are there to protect the American people not the companies they oversee.

    May 25, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Bill

    Proves why we need a few exceptional candidates as government regulators and why then need to be paid very well. Quality is usually inversely proportional to quantity.

    May 25, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Richard

    As a college physics instructor, it was obvious to me that the attempts to cap the leak would fail. There's too much pressure coming out to keep any kind of cap on target. The right way to cap it would be to put an open cylinder with a screw type lid in place (open to allow the leak to continue flowing), have it embed itself against the ocean floor, and then use a screw type motor to seal the gaps once the cylinder is in place.

    BP's entire handling of this process has been to enable BP get as much oil as possible out of the leak, not to stop the leak as quickly as possible. That process started with bribing the (mostly Bush era) inspectors who might have discovered the safety violations. Where's the outrage against Bush and Cheney in this?

    May 25, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Oh course they do. Why does it take the worst oil spill in U.S. history for the media to finally expose the corruption that has been going on for over 100 years ???

    May 25, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. richard

    and why do these people "still have a job? mike espy sec. of agiculture of the clinton admin was run out of town for some football tickets. this is a pathetic / sorry situation in washington. you got the sallahi's stalking the president w/ a camera crew. them people are stalkers. prez needs to step up and start cleaning house ASAP instead of taking/sharing the blame of what goes on in washington. he needs to stop. because this tea party backlash is going to be hell...... and of course the blame lies w/ 8yrs of cheney /bush republican rule. anybody remember the "secret" energy meetings ala dick cheney.... which the right wing of the supreme court gave its stamp of approval.

    May 25, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |