Richard Day's picture

    18 USC Section 201


    Once upon a time there was the Mineral Management Service. Basically it is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior that manages the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the outer continental shelf (OCS). The Offshore program, which manages the mineral resources on the OCS, is comprised of three regions: Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean. [

    Now the problem with an agency like this is that something happens and it becomes a punch line. The punch line interferes with a proper analysis of a regulatory process. So that we, the public, forget what the damn agency was set up to do and what it actually does. And instead we focus on sex, drugs and rock & roll.

    The punch line here involves some naughty boys and girls who were giving our resources away instead of performing their sworn duty to properly allocate those resources and collect monies for the public treasury. It is supposed to collect about $10 billion in royalties annually and is one of the government's largest sources of revenue other than  taxes

    That makes the agency rather powerful, when you think about it. And the biggest corporations in the world would like to speak friendly to the boys and girls put in charge of such a powerful agency.  So there was wining and dining and sex and drugs and rock and roll involved in this relationship between government and the corporate evils who seek to rip us all off every single minute of every single day.

    But the damn punch line misses the point really. Because the Bush Administration had kind of gutted the damn agency like Reagan had gutted our regulatory agencies thirty years ago.

    And Artappraiser pointed out  a Rolling Stone article to us just yesterday that contains ten good pages explaining what MMS is and what MMS  is supposed to be doing.

    In reality, MMS had little way to assess the risk to wildlife, since a new policy instituted under Bush scrapped environmental analysis and fast-tracked permits. Declaring that oil companies themselves were "in the best position to determine the environmental effects" of drilling, the new rules pre-qualified deep-sea drillers to receive a "categorical exclusion" - an exemption from environmental review that was originally intended to prevent minor projects, like outhouses on hiking trails, from being tied up in red tape. "There's no analytical component to a cat-ex," says a former MMS scientist. "You have technicians, not scientists, that are simply checking boxes to make sure all the T's are crossed. They just cut and paste from previous approvals."

    Besides telling me about his tour of duty in the Peace Corps every other day, Chris Matthews loves to talk about some story he was working on a few years ago. He discovered that one person in our entire government was in charge of inspecting thousands of miles of Alaskan pipeline; which is impossible.


    W Bush compounded the situation of course because he and his cohorts continually hired the least qualified and the most prone to side with the corporations they were supposed to monitor for slots open in all the regulatory agencies in this country. Again, oil people were put in charge of the Department of the Interior and Wall Street was put in charge of the SEC and the Treasury, etc. etc. etc....

    I have been thinking and writing about this crap for a long time.  But I really would like to focus on just one aspect of all this.

    As I am writing this MSNBC is reporting a huge drug bust. Fifty million bucks of bad stuff was discovered in vehicles traveling in 14 or so states; inside the panels of vans and busses and cars and every type of vehicle you can think of.  Over 400 people were arrested.

    Just as an aside here, profiling does not always work in concentrated sting operations or at border crossings because drug cartels hire aging fat white people like me as mules all the frickin time.  Just a thought; with what we are paying our elderly on SS, it is no wonder that a certain segment of our population is ripe for recruitment in certain nefarious enterprises.  (If you happen to know of any cartels hiring right now, well let me know.)

    Those arrested are going to spend a good share of their remaining years locked up in some hell hole. For sure!!

    Anyway, I ran across Section 201 of 18USC which mirrors similar statutes in every single state and territory that is part of the good ole USA. Anyone who:

    directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything

    of value to any public official or person who has been selected to

    be a public official, or offers or promises any

    public official or any person who has been
     selected to be a
    public official to give anything of value to
     any other person or
    entity, with intent -
    (A) to influence any official act; or
    (B) to influence such public official or
     person who has been
    selected to be a public official to
     commit or aid in
    committing, or collude in, or allow, 
    any fraud, or make
    opportunity for the commission of any fraud, 
    on the United States; or
    (C) to induce such public official or such 
    person who has
    been selected to be a public official to 
    do or omit to do any
    act in violation of the lawful duty of such 
    official or person;
    (2) being a public official or person selected 
    to be a public
    official, directly or indirectly, corruptly 
    demands, seeks,
    receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or 
    accept anything of
    value personally or for any other person or
     entity, in return

    You see, it is as much a crime to make a bribe as to take a bribe.  I therefore have come to  two conclusions from all of this.

    Any of these government employees who were on boats provided by oil companies, any government employees who were having sex with the oil companies, any government employees who were supping with the oil companies, any government employees who were ingesting drugs provided by the oil companies, and any government employees who received so much as a birthday bottle of Champaign from oil concerns should be charged with the  felony of accepting a bribe while in the furtherance of their governmental duties.

    They should be charged and tried and imprisoned for many many years; not just lose their jobs temporarily or otherwise.

    And any governmental employee who knew of these goings on during the relevant time period and did not report the incidents to proper authorities within and without the MMS should be charged and tried and imprisoned for many many years.

    That is my first conclusion from all of this.

    My second conclusion is as follows.

    Every single representative of an oil company or a coal company or a tin mining company or an iron ore company who offered sex or drugs or money or future job or bottle of wine to a government employee at MMS should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. That representative should be charged under 18 USC Section 201; tried and put in prison for many many years.

    And any member of management of an energy company who knew about these offers should be tried and imprisoned for violation of 18 USC Section 201 for many many years.

    After all that is what takes place every single day of every single year on the street. The fellow who made the call to set up the 'meet' for an exchange of illegal drugs for money is duly charged, tried and imprisoned for many many years.

    I could go on and on about Salizar and incompetence and enforcement of existing regulations and instituting new regulations and so on.

    I just wish to point out here that the tools are present for our leaders to take charge and send a real message to corporations.


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