Editorial: Interior's ethics policy not enough

"nterior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has described himself as a late-inning relief pitcher, sent in to clean up the department after the tumultuous and destructive reign of Gale Norton. Not the least of his problems has been the terrible ethical hangover left by Ms. Norton’s deputy, J. Steven Griles, who went to prison for lying to Congress about his ties to Jack Abramoff, a convicted former lobbyist.

From his first day about a year ago, Mr. Kempthorne has stressed the importance of ethical behavior. He recently sent all employees a plan to transform his agency into what he called “a model of an ethical workplace” — including more ethics lawyers, stronger disciplinary procedures and new restrictions on meetings with lobbyists.

This is good, but not enough. Almost no attention is paid to the most fundamental ethical failure of the Norton regime: the willingness to censor or tailor scientific findings to suit the ideological objectives of the White House and the wishes of industry and other special interests. Mr. Griles was among the worst offenders, carrying water for oil, gas, mining and grazing interests. But there were others."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Interior’s Incomplete Ethics Policy (The New York Times 7/10)

Inspector General Report:
Allegations Concerning Senior Officials of the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians (May 2005)

Related Stories:
Ethics issue behind us, Swimmer tells OST (06/27)
Editorial: Interior's lack of accountability (2/23)
Accounting firm defends social relations with OST (07/27)
OST contract tied to favors to top officials (7/25)
OST officials awarded $6.6M contract to friends (7/24)

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