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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Griper Blade: Republicans Need to Dig Up Some Better 'Scandals'

Darrelll Issa at Benghazi hearing
Want a scandal? Here's a scandal:
Salon: Try, if you can, to ignore all the lurid coke-and-sex bombshells contained in the three Department of Interior Inspector General reports about the shenanigans at the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS). The program director who snorted speed off a subordinate’s toaster oven, and made her give him a blow job while driving around the neighborhood. The two “MMS Chicks” who were notorious for getting plastered at conventions and having one-night stands with oil industry employees.

Try — and yes, I know it’s hard — try even to ignore the allegation that one program director told a subordinate that if she could score him some coke during the MMS performance appraisal period, he would increase her performance award. What’s the big deal? Who wouldn’t be motivated by such an incentive? And what’s a little drunken sex and coke binging on government time among friends? It happens to the best of us.

The significance of the three reports delivered by the inspector general to Congress on Wednesday lies not in the prurience of some of the indiscretions, but in the symbolism. The Royalty-in-Kind Program of the U.S. Minerals Management Service is where offshore drilling meets the U.S. government. And gosh, is it ever one heck of a mess. You want a toxic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Just read the reports.
You'll happy to know that this isn't happening now, but in the misty, far-flung past of bustling 2008. This was the Bush administration's scandal and it was bad. The MMS was responsible for leasing federal land for oil and natural gas drilling. And it was corrupt nearly beyond belief. An Inspector General found not only ethical breaches, but criminal misconduct in an agency who's mission had changed under the Bush administration from serving the interests of the American people to making as much money as possible for the oil and gas industry. The agency was basically run by lobbyists, practically guaranteeing malfeasance. After the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the agency was finally eliminated under Interior Department restructuring.

I don't bring this up to try to distract from the current controversies plaguing the White House, but to make a simple point; as salacious and shocking as it was at the time, no one talks about the MMS scandal anymore. Of course, the Bush administration had four colossal scandals that leap immediately to mind: the failure to take terrorism seriously, resulting in 9/11; the lies and hype about WMD that led to the invasion of Iraq; the awful response to Hurricane Katrina; and the use of torture. There were also warrantless wiretaps, blowing the cover of Valerie Plame, Dick Cheney getting hammered and shooting some poor guy in the face, and some I'm either forgetting or skipping over for the sake of brevity. In the scandal-production department, the Bushies were overachievers...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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