Yesterday, Milton Dial, the former deputy associate director of Minerals Revenue Management at the Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the Department of Interior (DOI) pleaded guilty to a felony violation of post government employment restrictions by helping design and award contracts that benefited him after his retirement.
Dial pleaded guilty in Nevada federal court to a single count of violating restrictions on former executive branch employees regarding communicating with the intent to influence any department, agency or court of the U.S. government on behalf of another person. Dial accepted a position as a subcontractor working for a company in a contract with DOI approximately six months after retiring from DOI. Prior to retiring, however, Dial admitted he created the evaluation criteria for the bids for this contract, had served on the evaluation committee that awarded the contract to the company, and had served as the contracting officer's technical representative at DOI for the company's contract up until his retirement. The company was owned by a friend and former MMS colleague named Jimmy Mayberry, who pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the conflict of interest law in the same matter in July.
Dial's plea follows the release of three devastating reports by DOI-IG last week that accused MMS employees of engaging in a multitude of illegal practices such as steering contracts to favored clients and accepting gifts, sex and drugs from employees of the energy companies the agency oversees.
Check back in the next few days, as we'll be releasing a report showing that this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems with the RIK program.
-- Neil Gordon and Mandy Smithberger