The Department of the Interior acknowledged today that a large number of government officials have been caught in a corruption ring involving employees of big oil companies – Hess, Chevron and Shell Oil, to name a few. There were bribes. There were exchanges of illegal drugs. Government officials were given sexual favors by oil company employees.
This news is only the result of an internal investigation by the Bush Administration. Once independent inquiries begin, the full scope of this oil industry corruption may go quite a bit further.
The government officials so far identified are in positions of decision-making power over oil company leases for drilling on public lands and in public waters. It’s very interesting to me that so many members of Congress have hopped on board the bandwagon recently for additional oil drilling leases, and for expanded offshore drilling rights – smack where the newly discovered corruption is centered.
It would be foolish for Congress to pass legislation authorizing expanded drilling before the bribery and other crimes are fully investigated… Foolish, or simply corrupt.