Bush Interior Secretary Faces Corruption Probe

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A criminal investigation is focused on a 2006 decision by the Interior Department, then under Secretary Gale Norton, to award three oil shale leases on federal land in Colorado to a Shell subsidiary.

The U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation into whether former Interior Secretary Gale Norton illegally used her position to steer lucrative oil leases to Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the company she now works for, officials with both departments confirmed to The Associated Press.

Investigators are looking into whether Norton, whom former President George W. Bush named to run the agency in 2001, violated a law that bars federal employees from discussing employment with a company if they are involved in a decision that could benefit that firm. Months after granting Shell the leases, Norton left the agency. Shell later that year hired her as an in-house counsel for its unconventional fuels division, which includes oil shale.

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