The terrible ethics in the Bush Department of Interior

I first posted about Bush’s Dept. of Interior being ethically challenged on Sept. 13, but now an editorial from the New York Times makes me think I need to post an update. Read editorial “Interior’s Internal Messes.”

And Time Magazine just weighed in too. Read “Department of Billion-dollar Bungling. How the Interior Department managed to lose about $2 billion of the public’s money. Can this mess be cleaned up?” By Douglas Waller.
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Post from Sept. 13.
In the 19th Century, the Department of Interior (DOI) was often regarded as the “Department of Corruption,” with the General Land Office being the worst division.

It was the location of one of America’s biggest government scandals in Warren Harding Administration — the Teapot Dome Scandal. People went to prison.

Over the years the Department, which houses the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and more, has gained some luster.

Unfortunately, more recently the tarnish has come back, thicker than ever. Now as then, the major location of corruption is oil and gas leasing, now done by the Bureau of Land Management, the successor agency to the old site of scandal, the General Land Office.

And now, the Inspector general of the Department of the Interior, is going to tell a congressional committee about it.

ABC News. The Mess at the Depatment of Interior.



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  1. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    My comment is how far down the chain of command does the corruption go? I have seen a lot of bungleing at the Field office level.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think the corruption is more at the level of the political appointments, and the field office bungling a result of politically inspired orders, and the workers, therefore, suffering from discouragement.

    But I don’t know for sure that the political corruption hasn’t spread.

    In the past the oil companies have always profited by their contact with decision-making politicians with little need to buy off those at the lower level. They need only to be told to look away while the feast goes on.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan