Federal scandal probes underway

The U.S. Department of the Interior, the cabinet department with more influence over Nevada matters than any other—is being roiled by post-Bush administration investigations. Rolling Stone reported this week that DOI, which oversees most Nevada land, is the target of probes that involve sex and drugs, including two federal employees who allegedly were sleeping with Chevron and Shell execs while negotiating with them. Obama Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is reportedly resisting pressure from Democratic leaders in Congress to, um, let sleeping dogs lie, instead insisting on accountability for Bush administration misdeeds.

Among targets of the probe is Julie McDonald, former Fish and Wildlife Service exec who prevented protecting the sage grouse (better known as the sage hen) that once lived and was hunted in Nevada in large numbers but has declined by about 80 percent in the West. A federal judge has found, “Her tactics included everything from editing scientific conclusions to intimidating FWS staffers.”