Among the many, many questions surrounding the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, some of the most central revolve around the most relevant government agency, the Mineral Management Service. Who are they? What do they do? Could they have prevented the latest human and environmental disaster?
According to a new report Tuesday by the Department of the Interior's Inspector General, MMS employees have been doing quite a lot on the job over the last few years – namely, watching porn on government computers, using cocaine and crystal meth and accepting thousands in gifts from the oil and natural gas industries in exchange for looking the other way, including meals, trips and, in at least one case from the MMS' St. Charles, La., office, tickets to the 2005 Peach Bowl between LSU and Miami:
"[The employee] admitted that he should not have accepted the trip from (Carlos) Kibodeaux (then a foreman with Production Management Inc., an offshore oil service company), even though they were friends, because of how others might perceive this," the report said. "He explained that he was a 'big LSU fan,' and he could not refuse the tickets."
As the date suggests, the incidents in the report far predate the catastrophe in the Gulf, but they do reflect a "culture of ethical failure" that discouraged oversight. In summation: LSU Football > Avoiding glaring conflicts of interest. That seems about par for the course.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.