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A 'Culture Of Corruption' Soap Opera

This one’s been percolating for about a week now, but with Speaker Pelosi’s office weighing in yesterday, it’s a good time to review

This one’s been percolating for about a week now, but with Speaker Pelosi’s office weighing in yesterday, it’s a good time to review one of the Bush administration’s more embarrassing new scandals (not to be confused with the multitude of old ones).

It starts with Steven Griles, a former lobbyist who’s due to be indicted in the Abramoff scandal any minute now, who was hired to be Bush’s Deputy Secretary of the Interior. Shortly after taking office, Griles was accused of doing what he does best — arranging favors for his former clients. As ethics complaints started mounting, the Interior Department assigned an official to keep an eye on Griles, to make sure he didn’t get into too much trouble, while Interior’s inspector general looked into his activities. The official was Sue Ellen Wooldridge, then the deputy chief of staff to Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

Shortly thereafter, Wooldridge started secretly dating the guy she was supposed to be monitoring for ethical lapses. As Paul Kiel explained, that’s when things got really interesting.

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