"Taking such gifts "appears to have been a generally accepted practice," the report said."

Helen Whalen Cohen
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Posted: Jun 04, 2010 11:06 AM

One of my favorite myths propagated by liberals everywhere is that government officials are less greedy than the businesses they regulate. In case you missed it, this Inspector General report documents the cozy relationship between oil companies and regulators who are supposed to oversee offshore drilling.

Staff members at an agency that oversees offshore drilling accepted tickets to sports events, lunches and other gifts from oil and gas companies and used government computers to view pornography, according to an Interior Department report alleging a culture of cronyism between regulators and the industry.

It doesn't end with bribes freebies, though. The report continues:

Her biggest concern is the ease with which minerals agency employees move between industry and government, Kendall said. While no specifics were included in the report, "we discovered that the individuals involved in the fraternizing and gift exchange — both government and industry — have often known one another since childhood," Kendall said.

So it turns out that there isn't a superhuman class of public servants that is only motivated by concern for the common good.  The Inspectors General understand that. Tax payers understand it as well. The same apparently cannot be said for bureaucrats. Ken Salazar's solution is to "abolish the minerals agency and replace it with three new entities". Does he really think that these new entities won't be tainted by the same corruption? How many people from the first agency do you think will be appointed to one of the new ones?

Here's an alternative suggestion-let's eliminate corporate welfare and protectionism instead. We wouldn't need all these regulatory agencies (and the cronyism they bring along) if companies weren't given so many kickbacks on the taxpayer's tab.