Markey asks 3 CEOs about their companies' possible roles in MMS scandal

A US House committee chairman launched his own investigation of three oil companies' possible roles in federal employees' ethics violations in the US Minerals Management Service's royalty-in-kind program.

Sep 19th, 2008

A US House committee chairman launched his own investigation of three oil companies' possible roles in federal employees' ethics violations in the US Minerals Management Service's royalty-in-kind program.

"Sniffing out the bad actors in the Bush administration is important, but we need to be just as vigilant with the companies involved in this crude distortion of government ethics," said Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who chairs the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

"It takes two to tango, and the oil companies appear to have danced over just as many ethical lines as the Bush administration officials," he maintained.

Markey said that he sent letters on Sept. 12 to Chevron Corp. chief executive David J. O'Reilly, Shell Oil Co. president Marvin Odum and Gary Williams Energy Corp. chief executive Ronald Williams. The three companies were mentioned in US Interior Inspector General Earl E. Devaney's Sept. 9 report.

In addition to detailed records of lobbying expenditures, Markey said he asked whether any senior executives of the company knew that their employees were providing gifts to MMS employees in violation of federal law, or whether senior executives directed company employees to develop inappropriately close relationships with MMS personnel.

"From funding global warming deniers to fighting the expansion of renewable energy, Big Oil has done America no favors. In doing many unethical favors for Bush administration officials, and expecting reciprocation when oil is bought and sold, the oil companies are continuing a long and disappointing trend," Markey said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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