Salazar will focus on two ex-MMS employees


We reported last week that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wants the Justice Department to reopen its investigations into the scandals at the Minerals Management Service.

A quick update: According to several sources at the department, Salazar is specifically interested in Gregory Smith and Lucy Denett. They’re both former high-ranking Interior officials; Justice declined to prosecute either one.

Smith is a former director of the controversial royalty-in-kind program at MMS. He took tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees from a company that wanted to do business with oil and gas companies, and accepted gifts and trips from the industry. Denett ran the Minerals Revenue Management agency, part of MMS, and steered more than $1 million in contracts to a friend.

Interior’s IG, Earl Devaney, referred both cases to Justice’s public integrity division, which decided not to investigate either one; many observers said that was a surprising decision. And it‘s why Salazar wants to reopen the investigations, according to my sources. But he’s not interested in reviewing cases that Justice has already investigated.


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