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Trading On Insider Knowledge?

Monday, Oct. 25, 2010

Is enforcement of government ethics on the federal level more lax than on other levels of government?

Maybe, if you are with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  A former manager with the New Mexico BLM office recently left to take a job with the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association.

The shift in jobs was given the okay by federal government ethics officials, even though the employee had been responsible for overseeing 1.8 milllion acres of public land in New Mexico.

A federal watchdog group, the nonpartisan Project On Government Oversight (POGO) has asked BLM director Bob Abby to look into this apparent "revolving door" employment.

The conflict is significant, according to POGO, because as a former federal regulator, he would be able to "trade on his insider knowledge and contacts in his new role advocating for the industry."

Despite an earlier ruling, the ethics agency has decided to take a second look, in part because documents uncovered by POGO show the employee used his government computer in applying for the job.

It's easy to get inundated with paperwork in a bureaucracy like the Department of the Interior, but that is no excuse for allowing lapses in the area of ethics.

Tags: revolving door regulations

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