Honest Chief, Crooked Deputy?

By now, many of you know the story of Teresa Chambers. She was the Chief of the United States Park Police, responsible for visitor safety at many of the most popular urban parks units across the country, including the National Mall, the Statue of Liberty, and the area near the Golden Gate Bridge. Chief Chambers was fired when she said in an interview with the Washington Post that she needed more personnel to keep our Monuments safe. The Department of the Interior didn't like that type of honesty and fired Chambers. Never mind that in the 30 months since she's been let go, her predictions have proved correct time and time again ( recently: May 26, 2006 Couples Robbed, Beaten On National Mall; June 15, 2006 Visitor Safety, Resources, Services Now 'Seriously Compromised' as a Result of Cuts ).

Teresa Chambers was interviewed by a Washington D.C. area television station where she had an opportunity to discuss the recent NPS Retirees visitor safety survey, and discuss her own continuing struggle to restore her name and her job. The interview is 15 minutes long and can be viewed on Chambers website.

Video: Teresa Chambers on NewsTalk Channel 8 (requires Internet Explorer)

Today I learned that at the same time Chambers was fired for her honesty, J. Steven Griles, the Deputy Secretary at the Department of the Interior was making millions on the side in suspect deals. His time at the DOI is described in a Spokane, WA newspaper article last year:
During nearly half his four-year tenure at Interior, Griles was investigated by the department's inspector general. Inspector General Earl Devaney concluded Griles didn't appear to violate ethics rules by arranging meetings between Interior officials and former clients and partners, or in the award of $1.6 million in contracts to a former client.

But Devaney described Griles' behavior as an example of "an institutional failure" among Interior officials who potentially eroded public trust by failing to consider the perceived impropriety of their actions.
Yesterday Wayne Smith, a Sioux tribal member spoke with CBS News and described the relationship between the lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Griles. He says Abramoff and other lobbyists redefined "access and influence", and that Abramoff apparently called Griles his "point man" or "our guy" within the DOI. The interview can be seen here:

Video: Whistleblower says Bush officials traded Abramoff favors [3 min]

It is a real shame that Teresa Chambers was fired for her efforts to keep us as park visitors safe, and in the meantime at the same agency, this political snake can keep his hands just clean enough to avoid prosecution. Griles has since left the DOI and is now a principal at the lobbying firm Lundquist, Nethercutt & Griles LLC, which represents companies in the telecom, mining and oil industries. Kind of makes you sick, doesn't it?