The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating a former Justice Department officials joint purchase of a vacation home with an oil and gas company lobbyist, reports the Associated Press. The real estate transaction took place just months before the official signed a consent decree that allowed the company, ConocoPhilllips, to delay installing $525 million worth of pollution controls.
The third investor in the Kiawah Island, South Carolina home, purchased for nearly $1 million, was reportedly none other than J. Stephen Griles, the former deputy interior secretary currently under investigation for his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Last year’s congressional scandals dominated headlines and helped to change the balance of power in Washington; this latest investigation draws attention to the corruption plaguing the executive branch of government. Fortunately, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a women-run watchdog group featured in Ms. magazines Winter 2007 issue, has just released Criminals and Scoundrels: The 25 Most Corrupt Bush Administration Officials.
“High level government officials, acting without oversight, have plenty of opportunity to commit crimes,” said Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director. “Some of the officials named in the report were allowed to remain in their positions – or were even promoted – despite clear indications that they were running amok.”
CREW’s report chronicles the alleged misconduct of Bush administration officials working at government agencies including the White House, the Food & Drug Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security.