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Oil and sex apparently mix

September 16, 2008|By TIM ROWLAND

Oil and water don't mix -- but oil and sex? Apparently so.

An Interior Department agency that is supposed to collect oil and gas royalties from corporations that are drilling on public lands has been collecting a lot more than that, if you know what I'm saying.

According to reports to Congress, "A culture of ethical failure" existed in the Minerals Management Service, which is supposed to be the bill collector and financial watchdog over the oil companies.

If you need more specifics, it could also be said that "a culture of ethical failure" exists in the Playboy Bunny Mansion.

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The report mentions "substance abuse and promiscuity" and a mountain of gifts the oil companies gave to the government agency.

The New York Times reported:

"On one occasion in 2002, the report said, two of the officials who marketed taxpayers' oil got so drunk at a daytime golfing event sponsored by Shell that they could not drive to their hotels and were put up in Shell-provided lodging. Two female employees 'engaged in brief sexual relationships with industry contacts,' the reports' cover memo said, adding that 'sexual relationships with prohibited sources cannot, by definition, be arms' length.'"

Now we know why so many politicians favor more drilling. Heck, so do I, now that I know all the facts. I was just operating with incomplete information before. As a matter of fact, I'm planning on welding together an oil derrick in my backyard this afternoon.

Who knew the oil industry could be this much fun?

Let's hear it for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Drunken Orgy Center. It will give all the caribou something interesting to watch.

When people accused the Bush administration of being cozy with the oil industry, I had no idea they meant that cozy. Who knows, maybe offshore drilling has nothing to do with petroleum. (Or maybe it does.) When people talked about "Big Oil," I'd always assumed ...

Apparently we learned nothing from "Dallas." This makes Larry Hagman look like Ned Flanders. No wonder the price of oil is so high. Not only do we have to pay for drilling, refining, R&D and transport, we also have to pay for "golf, ski and paintball outings; meals and drinks; and tickets to a Toby Keith concert, a Houston Texans football game and a Colorado Rockies baseball game" that the oil companies supplied to government employees.

Paintball?

When did paintball become part of the sex, drugs, and rock and roll scene? If a public servant has to be bought, you would like to think he'd hold out for a price that's a little higher than the chance to wing plastic paint pellets at a coworker. Maybe it was naked paintball. Or maybe they invited Toby Keith.

The amazing thing about this story though, is not the "culture of ethical failure," it's the fact that anyone in government happened to realize there might be something wrong with it.

In a way, you have to feel for the employees who were caught up in the scandal. Who among them, in their wildest dreams, believed they would be called out in this administration for being too nice to the oil companies?

They were probably operating under the assumption that it was a job requirement.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or by e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on www.antpod.com.

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