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Rachel Maddow: Former Bush Cabinet Secretary Gale Norton Subject Of Formal Corruption Investigation

From the L.A. Times--Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton is focus of corruption probe: The Justice Department investigation centers on a 2006 decis

From the L.A. Times--Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton is focus of corruption probe:

The Justice Department investigation centers on a 2006 decision to award oil shale leases in Colorado to a Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary. Months later, the oil giant hired Norton as a legal counsel.

Reporting from Washington - The Justice Department is investigating whether former Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton illegally used her position to benefit Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the company that later hired her, according to officials in federal law enforcement and the Interior Department.

Could we finally see the Justice Department coming down on a member of Bush administration?

Maddow: Ken Salazar inherited responsibility for about 500 million acres of the Earth when President Obama appointed him secretary of the interior. Yesterday, as we reported, he announced that he would shut down the Interior Department office known during the Bush administration as the place where department staffers snorted meth off of toaster ovens.

The inspector general reported that in addition to the toaster oven meth-snorting, employees of one middle management office had sex with, did drugs with, and took embarrassingly small bribes from people in the oil and gas industry they were supposed to be regulating.

Now, the secretary of the interior during the time of the toaster oven, meth-snorting, what‘s known as the department‘s orgy era, was a person named Gale Norton. During the orgy era at her department, Gale—at her department—Gale Norton awarded Shell Oil a bunch of extremely lucrative leases to squeeze some oil out of federal lands.

Two months after the big present for Shell Oil was announced, Gale Norton quit the Department of the Interior. Where did she go to work after that? You guessed it. Shell Oil.

Dear Miss Norton, thank you for submitting your resume.

If then-Interior Secretary Gale Norton discussed her future employment with Shell while she was making the decision to award the company those lucrative leases, she will have broken the law. An internal investigation was launched of this while George W. Bush was still in office.

And “The Los Angeles Times” reports today that it has now been turned over to the Justice Department in a formal criminal referral. That makes Gale Norton the first Bush cabinet secretary to be the subject of a formal corruption investigation. She, of course, is also the first to have multiple results show up when you goggle her name along with the words meth, toaster oven and snorting.

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