Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Former BLM manager accepted gifts

The former district manager of the Bureau of Land Management's Farmington field office accepted trips to pro golf tournaments, donations to his son's youth baseball teams and other prohibited gifts from oil and gas companies he was charged with regulating, according to an Office of the Inspector General investigation made public this week. Steve Henke, after managing the Farmington field office for nine years, resigned from the BLM in May to accept a job as president of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. According to a government investigation initiated prior to his resignation, Henke accepted gifts from oil and gas companies and misused BLM funds. However, no evidence was found that Henke gave preferential treatment in exchange for the gifts, according to the report made public through a federal Freedom of Information Act request. Henke in response to the investigation report said he did nothing wrong. "There's no evidence or indication of any quid pro quo or any inappropriate conduct with regard to the oil and gas (industry) on my part, that's the bottom line," Henke said. "If the lines between my professional responsibilities, my personal life and my civic responsibilities overlap, I think in the final analysis, the point that there's no indication that there was a quid pro quo of any sort is indicative of how I conducted business on behalf of the public at BLM."...more

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