After a wonderful weekend in Vermont, and after the stirring effort of the U.S. soccer team against England, I was saddened to find this 2008 Investigative Report on the Minerals Management Service, an agency which is now under criticism for providing inadequate supervision of BP, and the oil industry in general. This report makes it clear that the MMS and the oil industry are thick as thieves.
Two Minerals Management Services employees, known in the oil industry as “the MMS chicks,” accepted gifts and engaged in sexual relationships and drug use with oil industry employees. In this Department of the Interior Investigative Report, the DOI comes to the startling conclusion that “sexual relations with prohibited sources cannot by definition be at arms length.” Apparently, the employees took annual ethics training and made an effort to keep their illicit relationships quiet. However, it is clear that these employees were encouraged, by a lack of supervision, to engage in this behavior. This is a clear illustration of regulatory capture at work.