How could those bureaucrats in Washington ignore their own people in the field, and order the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to all drop their protests against the Las Vegas Water Grab? It was just wrong. It ought to have been illegal. But, it was also just the tip of the iceberg... That's right, there's much more.
Check out the news releases on the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility website. The list goes on and on. If it weren't for people like the ones who ultimately work for the Department of the Interior, and still have the nerve to stand for what they feel is right – we wouldn't even know about most of these subjects.
Most recently, there have been two scandals at the Department of the Interior (DoI). I'll tell you the smokescreen scandal first. It's about nothing important. And its implementation was designed to aggravate conservatives, so they wouldn't notice the second scandal. The scandal I'm speaking of is, of course, the DoI internet porn scandal. Apparently, DoI employees watch too much internet porn at work. So, the DoI computers now block out all that internet porn – and a few conservative blogs... a few conservative blogs? What? Do you understand “wag the dog?” Sure, this story got a lot of press. But the real story was that honest employees of DoI are in open rebellion against the corruption they've witnessed.
Auditors for the DoI claim that, since 1998, 1.3 Billion dollars was not collected in royalties, and have taken it upon themselves to personally sue more than 20 oil companies, on behalf of taxpayers. Even the DoI's inspector General has testified that “short of a crime, anything goes” at the Department of the Interior.
Members of Congress have called for a hearing on the DoI's “pattern of corruption.” To hear their press release (which I highly recommend), Follow this link, scroll down to the player, and then scroll down ¼ of the way down the player to “House Democrats call for hearings on alleged DoI misconduct.” Yes... They are Democrats. But, somebody was going to have to do something. And the Republican “Congress has failed to oversee the corrupt activities of this administration.”
There could be as much as 80 Billion dollars at stake – money that taxpayers will have to make up for. As you might have expected, Republican Chairman Richard Pombo didn't want a hearing. But, we got one.
DoI “bungling” as Time magazine calls it, has been going on for quite some time. Some of these people go back to the Reagan years. And historically, corruption and the DoI go way, way back. Do you remember your history lessons about the Teapot Dome scandal?
Native Americans have known about the DoI for a long time. We've been trying to warn you. But since, for the past hundred years, the royalties haven't been paid to Indians – nobody paid much attention.
The Black Mesa Indigenous Support website states: “all across the nation billions of dollars in American Indian royalty funds remain unaccounted for, and many tribes are accusing the Interior Department of mismanaging the funds. The Bush administration has actually intervened in a Navajo Nation lawsuit against Peabody that produced evidence that company engaged in backdoor deals with the Interior Department and diminished Navajo royalties since 1985. A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Interior Department violated its trust responsibility when it engaged in these deals. The Bush administration says a ruling ordering the government to make payments to the Navajo Nation to replace lost royalties would be too costly and could lead to similarly expensive rulings favoring other tribes that share royalties with other energy companies.”
Yeah... But, wouldn't that be the right thing to do? They want us to pay our taxes, don't they? I know that it “would be too costly” wouldn't work on the bottom line of my IRS form.
Hey, I have an idea. Let's replace the IRS with the DoI, tell them to keep up the good work, and we won't have to pay our taxes.