Former DOI IG chosen as assistant secretary, land and minerals

US President Barack Obama plans to nominate Wilma A. Lewis, a former inspector general at the US Department of the Interior, as assistant Interior secretary for land and minerals management.

May 5th, 2009

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, May 5 -- US President Barack Obama plans to nominate Wilma A. Lewis, a former inspector general at the US Department of the Interior, as assistant Interior secretary for land and minerals management.

Lewis, who also was US attorney for the District of Columbia during 1998-2001, was IG at DOI during 1995-98, where she managed a staff of 300 in 12 offices and conducted investigations and audits. More recently, she served as managing associate general counsel at Freddie Mac during October 2007-December 2008 and as a partner in private law firm Crowell & Mooring during June 2001-September 2007.

DOI Secretary Ken Salazar applauded Obama's selection when the president announced it on May 1. Salazar said Lewis was well qualified because of her "extensive legal, law enforcement, and management experience; high ethical standards; and personal integrity."

DOI said while Lewis was the department's IG, she initiated a fraud awareness program focused on educating DOI employees to recognize and report suspected fraudulent activity. She also launched several investigations, including one of alleged underpayment of royalties on federal leases.

Before becoming IG, Lewis was an associate solicitor at DOI in charge of the division handling equal opportunity compliance, administrative law, personnel, torts, contracts, and ethics matters during 1993-95, according to DOI.

As assistant secretary for lands and minerals management, she would oversee the US Bureau of Land Management and the US Minerals Management Service, the two DOI agencies most directly involved in federal oil and gas resource activities, as well as the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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