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New York Times profiles oil royalty whistleblower

The December 3, 2006 issue of the New York Times includes a profile of Bobby L. Maxwell, the Interior Department auditor who filed a whistleblower suit alleging that Kerr-McGee, a major oil company, cheated on royalty payments.

One week after the unsealing of the lawsuit, filed by Maxwell under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, Maxwell’s job was eliminated in a Department reorganization.

The article highlights Maxwell’s role at the center of a battle over how the federal government oversees approximately $60 billion worth of oil and gas produced every year on federal property. Congress and the inspector general for the Interior Department are also investigating whether the Department properly collects the money for oil and gas pumped from public land.

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