Doug Lamborn (R-CO Whiner) complained to Ken Salazar that there had been too much focus on the sex and drug scandal of MMS under the Bush Administration.  Salazar let him have it.

Lamborn: We all want to get to the bottom of this tragedy. And I think we all agree that finger-pointing will not get us there. I don’t understand–I have to be real honest here–why you and others keep harping on what MMS did or didn’t do in the previous Administration, when you did know about these problems when you came into office and you have been in charge of them for more than a year now. Why aren’t we talking about the here and now?

Salazar: Well we are talking, Congressman Lamborn, about the here and now, and that’s why people have been terminated, people have been referred over to prosecution, and we’ve done a lot to clean house at MMS. Unlike the prior Administration, this is not the candy store of the oil and gas kingdom which you and others were a part of. And so we have moved forward in a manner that is thoughtful, that is responsible, that holds those accountable. And those who violate the law, Congressman Lamborn, will be terminated and whatever other sanctions of law are appropriate, those sanctions of law will be applied.

On February 4, 2009, after Salazar halted some of Bush’s drilling efforts and asked DOJ to reconsider for prosecution some of those involved in the worst MMS scandals, I mused with some surprise that Ken Salazar was at that point the high point of the Obama Administration for me.b

And for his strengths and weaknesses since then, I gotta say that Salazar is still the only one who looked backward in timely manner and because of that could say, this clearly, that he had put the corruption of the Bush Administration behind him.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.