WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today issued the following statement following receipt of Inspector General reports on Minerals Management Service (MMS) Royalty In Kind (RIK) program employees:
“I am outraged by the immoral behavior, illegal activities, and appalling misconduct of several former and current long-serving career employees in the Minerals Management Service’s Royalty in Kind program. These individuals have eroded the trust the American citizens deserve to have in their public servants.
“During this investigation, as we awaited the Inspector General’s final reports, individuals were transferred out of the RIK program. Now that we have received this report and have the information to proceed further, we will take swift action to restore the public trust.
“In the memo conveying the report, the Inspector General affirmed my frustration with the length of time it has taken to receive this investigative report. The Inspector General has acknowledged the assertive steps we took to replace the key leadership and staff in the affected components of MMS.
“I am heartened by the fact that in his report the Inspector General stated that ‘99.9 percent of DOI employees are hard-working, ethical and well-intentioned.’ I share that view. Unfortunately, as the Inspector General pointed out, the conduct of a few has cast a shadow on an entire agency. We must and we will eliminate any remaining negative elements in the Minerals Management Service.”