The Sierra Club sent this out today as one of their emails to activist members (the RAW newsletter)

Dept of Interior: Illusory Integrity and Other Idiocy
Josh Dorner

As faithful RAW readers know, the Department of the Interior has been buffeted by scandal after scandal at its highest levels. Apparently Sec. of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne decided that he ought to do something, what with former Interior No. 2 Steve Griles being all over the news last week following his tear-filled pleas for leniency at the hearing where he was eventually sentenced to ten months in prison for his role in the Abramoff scandal.

Since the corruption at Interior has been limited almost exclusively to the very highest levels, you’d think Kempthorne’s plan would be to rein in the political appointees that have been at the center of the ongoing circus, right? WRONG. Instead of aggressive measures to curb abuses at the top, the plan was directed at rank-and-filed employees and included winning steps such as placing a new “integrity motto” on every employee’s badge.

It appears the wheels may have fallen off of Kempthorne’s plan before he could even drive it off the lot. Mark Limbaugh, Asst. Secretary for Water and Science, who was to chair the new ethics body, abruptly resigned a mere two days after its creation was announced. And what, pray tell, is he going to be doing? He will “pursue opportunities in the private sector here in Washington D.C.” (Read: make fistfuls of cash lobbying his former coworkers.)

Limbaugh, however, may find that passing out hundreds of thousands in special interest money is ever so slightly more difficult these days following the demise of the Sierra Club-bashing Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy. The front group appears to have folded after its co-founder (and former Griles gal pal), Italia Federici, pleaded guilty to numerous federal crimes related to her dealings with its primary financial supporter, Jack Abramoff.

What comes around goes around, eh?

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

7 Responses to Illusory Integrity at the Department of Interior

  1. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Ralph

    These are important points. It’s just that there are two kinds of private property rights: the priority rights of the big boys, and the lesser rights of the rest of us. Republicans manage to ignore the “lesser” rights and work to transfer them to the big boys.

    There is also the issue of public rights–the commons–which are also trampled when these leases are handed out willy nilly. By far, what happens to the commons is the greater evil.

    Robert

  2. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Sorry, I thought I was on the Barasso story.

  3. avatar kt says:

    Well, I am betting the “cracking down on inappropriate internet use” translates as MORE SPYING on lower level employees and scientist’s e-mail, and listening in on their phone conversations. In the hope of finding some shred of evidence that they are communicating “ccc’ing” with unsavory elements of the public – like dastardly environmental groups.

    We know full well that Fish and Willdife Service in Idaho has spied on employees e-mail and computers- looking for key words like names of environmental groups. Wouldn’t want any Interior employee talking science to anyone … Only propaganda allowed.

  4. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    This story is just one example of why I spent my day yesterday without celebrating (the 4th.)

    Instead, I pondered some questions, such as, “are we an evil empire.” I took note of news stories, such as these, but also those involving illegal use of fireworks. I also witness some of the illegal activities pursued in “celebrating” our country’s Independence from Great Britain. I also pondered the notion that we have become that which we sought to be independent from…and worse.

    I am so disillusioned by our government. But rather than ignore it, I use that disillusionment to drive me to continue to pursue, to what end I can, a better system for us.

    Perhaps one day I can celebrate the 4th happily.

  5. avatar JEFF E says:

    I wonder if this Limbaugh is any relation to Rush “dim bulb” Limbaugh. Anyway this smells like more of this administrations modus operandi of telling the public what sounds good and hoping the next news flash on a different topic will shift the public focus.

  6. avatar elkhunter says:

    KT, spying on people? 🙂 KT come on, you take everything to the extreme every time I read one of your posts. Its entertaining to say the least!!! You act like this is some secret under cover James Bond 007 operation. Buggin scientists phone and emails!!! Come on.

  7. Mike Wolf; Ditto on how you spent the fourth.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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