Poor, Benighted Oil Companies- Don't Subject Them to "Hardship," Oh No!
Actually, I'm not so upset about this- it appears that at least some Congresscritters are on this. I don't know if they will be able to fix the problem, and $10B is just a drop in the bucket of what we're about to spend in Iraq. Still, the reason I think this story is important is that I believe it is being repeated, in every government agency, from top to bottom. The rule of law is truly dead in this country, and I guess I'm on a mission to get more people to understand that. Kudos to the Old Grey Ho for being on this, although I'm sure if I looked around, I would find a blogger who beat them to it:
The report, a result of a yearlong investigation, grew out of complaints by four auditors at the agency, who said that senior administration officials had blocked them from recovering money from oil companies that underpaid the government.
In one case, senior officials decided that it would impose a “hardship” on oil companies to demand that they calculate the back interest they owed after having been caught underpaying. The agency itself was years behind in billing the companies, because its computers could not perform the calculations.
Wow, and to think I just use a calculator when I need to add up numbers that exceed 100. I guess government computers are a little slow.
The report was the latest result of a long series of investigations into the troubled federal program for collecting oil and gas royalties. Last year, Mr. Devaney told a Congressional hearing that “short of a crime, anything goes at the highest levels of the Department of the Interior.”
The new report did not try to estimate the amount of money that might have been lost. Early in 2006, officials conceded that the government might lose about $10 billion in revenue over the next decade because of a legal mistake in oil and gas leases that had been ignored for six years.
I know that the main reason we're completely fucked has to do with billions spent on things like the war, and that compared to the missing trillions the DoD can't seem to find, this is peanuts. Still, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Republicans believe government exists to rape and kill the Little People and steal their heritage and hand it over to a privileged few Dominionists and sadistic, fascist closet cases. Once upon a time that was a polemical statement. Today, it's little more than fact.