Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Timeline of Recent Events Related to Oversight of MMS

December 5th, 2006: Department of Interior Inspector General releases Audit Report of MMS’s Compliance Review Process (no. C-IN-MMS 0006-2006). The audit report shows that compliance reviews should only be used in conjunction with audits, in the context of a well-designed risk-based compliance strategy.

December 6th, 2006: MMS Director Burton says “We appreciate the work of the IG’s office…” and MMS’s detailed improvement plan will be delivered to the OIG within 30 days (Jan. 6th, 2007).

December 28th, 2006: Minerals Revenue Management of MMS releases “Action Plan to Strengthen Minerals Management Service’s Compliance Program Operations” to House and Senate Resources committees.

January 18, 2007: Secretary Kempthorne and Asst. Secretary Allred announced the establishment of an “independent panel (that) should be convened to review the procedures and processes surrounding MMS’s management of mineral revenue…The new panel will operate as a Subcommittee under the auspices of the Royalty Policy Committee (RPC).” This independent subcommittee is to report back to the full RPC within six months on reporting, accounting, audit and compliance procedures. As yet unseen. Members of the committee attached.

February, 2007: OMB lists MMS as “NOT PERFORMING”. OMB references OIG-audit-related improvement plans as: “Implement the new Office of Inspector General recommendations from its 2006 report related to the compliance review process, including the implementation of improved performance measures.” OMB notes the status on 9-6-07 as “Action taken, but not completed.” OMB scores Strategic Planning of MMS at 60% and Program Management at 66%. Program Results and Accountability is scored at 32%.

February 15th, 2007: Senate Energy Committee requests GAO report on MMS’s Royalty in Kind (RIK) program.

May 7, 2007: Director of MMS Johnnie Burton retires. Walter Cruickshank appointed as Acting Director of MMS on May 23.

May 23, 2007: Greg Smith, the head of the beleaguered Royalty-In-Kind program at the Department of Interior Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced he is retiring.

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