Tuesday, March 08, 2011

BLM pressed on alleged ethics violations by former Wyoming manager

The Interior Department is being accused by a government watchdog group of ignoring possible ethics violations by a former Bureau of Land Management field office manager who allegedly accepted gifts from the owner of an oil company regulated by the agency. The Project on Government Oversight sent a letter this week to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey questioning why BLM never disciplined James Murkin, the former BLM field manager in Casper, Wyo. Instead, Murkin was promoted to deputy director of BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships, according to POGO. Although Murkin is no longer with the agency, a 2009 Inspector General’s report found that while he was a manager in the Casper office, he failed to disclose regular meetings with the oil company owner and received $916.55 worth of materials from another company owned by the executive to construct a new patio at Murkin’s home. Murkin failed to prepay for the supplies, as required by BLM ethics rules, though he did pay later, according to the IG report...more

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