Saturday, December 30, 2006

Oil Corruption in “I______”?

The latest investigation into possible oil corruption involves an entity that begins with an “I”. You might be thinking Iraq and while true, that isn’t the correct answer. It’s the Interior Department right here at home.

The news reported federal investigators have zeroed in on the royalties the U.S. government collects from Big Oil. Apparently some public workers accepted consulting gigs with oil and gas companies concerned about the government’s take on royalties. Oil Execs figure if taxes are “our money” according to President Bush, then royalty payments are “their money” and they want it back. Investigations are looking at multi-billion shortfalls in royalty payments.

How does Big Oil keep making those huge profits? Is it on the back of the average citizen and from lifting the pockets of the formerly clueless, now shifty federal government? (In light of the public's desire for improved health coverage, recall hospital uncompensated care in 2004 amounted to $26.9 billion. Exxon Mobile alone brought home $36 billion in profits in 2005.)

As usual the Bush administration’s Interior Department had no comment. Didn’t Kathleen Clark, its Chief just resign? A livestock man said Mrs. Clarke “faced tremendous pressure to keep the focus on minerals”. With a strong focus, how could there be a multi-billion dollar shortfall in royalties? Don’t tell me yet another Bush higher up benefited financially from her public service…

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