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Key Federal Regulator Took Gifts From Oil Company, Misused Travel Funds, Investigation Shows

SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN   08/23/10 06:07 PM ET   AP

Steve Henke Interior
The office of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, left, issued the report.

SANTA FE, N.M. — An investigation has found that a former Bureau of Land Management official in New Mexico who oversaw one of the largest onshore mineral production areas in the U.S. took gifts from an oil company and misused travel funds.

Details of the Interior Department probe were released Monday in documents obtained by an environmental group through a records request.

The investigation says former Farmington BLM district manager Steve Henke (heen-KEY') took gifts from Williams Exploration and Production – golf tickets, lodging and meals – and solicited donations for his son's youth baseball teams.

Henke retired in May to become head of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. He says no regulatory favors were exchanged with the industry.

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