Sunday :: May 13, 2007

The Bush Administration: Stealing Us Blind - Episode 2134


by Mary

From NOW this week, we find the Bush administration has once more found a way to help their corporate friends enrich themselves on the backs of the American people. Not too surprisingly, the Bush administration believes their backers should be free to exploit our public commons for their private wealth.

In this episode, the Bush administration actively aided and abetted oil and gas giant Kerr McGee as they defrauded the American people of millions in royalties from oil they've extracted from our public lands. Here are some of the key points from this week's episode:

  • Much of the Oil and Gas extracted within the United States is on public lands.
  • Companies lease the right to drill and extract on our lands in exchange for a percentage of their take -- a giveback to the public in the form of royalty payments for the privilege of exploiting our lands and benefiting from our mineral wealth.
  • Bobby Maxwell, a veteran government auditor discovered that oil giant, Kerr McGill, was under-reporting their profits by a significant margin leading to a underpayment to the American public of around $10 million.
  • The agency he worked for, Mineral Management Service (MMS), in the Interior Department, quashed the order he had prepared to serve to Kerr McGee to pay up.
  • When Maxwell undertook a lawsuit against Kerr McGee to make them pay the amount they owed the government as a citizen under the US False Claims Act, he was summarily fired.
  • In January, a jury found Kerr McGee guilty of trying to defraud the government and the judge ruled that the company must pay the $7.55 million that they owed the US Treasury.
  • In a surprising turn-about, in March, the judge threw out the case because Kerr McGee convinced him that Maxwell didn't have standing to bring this suit forward because he obtained his information as part of his job as a US MMS Auditor in an agency refusing to prosecute the fraud.
  • This is not the only case where the Bush administration refused to conduct their fiduciary duty as representatives of the America public, but rather helped shysters rip off Amercian taxpayers. According to NOW, during the Clinton years, revenue recovered by government auditors averaged $172 million per year. During the Bush years, that average has fallen to $48 million per year.

This was another episode in the ongoing story of how the Bush Administration thinks that you, the American taxpayer, are a gullible and easy mark. And indeed, the more you scream, the more it gives them pleasure.

So what are you going to do about it?

NOW has posted a page honoring a number of our public heroes whose story they've told: those honorable people who blew the whistle on the corruption they found in the federal government and who have paid the price for looking out for us, the American public.

One of worst aspects of our times is the number of people who have paid with their livelihoods for doing right while those who lie and help commit horrific crimes such as abetting this president to take this country to war are feted and enriched by their friends and admirers in the elite punditry.

Mary :: 1:08 PM :: Comments (32) :: Digg It!