The ethical abyss at the Department of Interior has been much in the news lately, with the dept’s Inspector General testifying to Congress that "short of a crime, anything goes at the highest levels of the Department of the Interior."

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Now the NYT reports that Interior’s own investigators are in open rebellion; in a series of lawsuits, they "contend that they were blocked by their bosses from pursuing more than $30 million in fraudulent underpayments of royalties for oil produced in publicly owned waters in the Gulf of Mexico." Political sops to oil companies? Say it ain’t so!

In a set of follow-up posts, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) blog offers links to many of the lawsuit documents and complaints (see also here).

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What a mess.