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Democrats Probe Trump ‘Favoritism’ of Oil Industry in Shutdown

  • Interior work on oil drilling seen subject to litigation
  • Permit efforts may violate federal spending law, Democrats say

Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

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Lawmakers are intensifying their scrutiny of the Interior Department’s decision to keep churning out drilling permits and restart work on offshore oil leasing despite the government shutdown.

At best the activity represents unfair favoritism for the oil industry, Democrats argued Thursday, and at worst it’s a violation of federal laws that generally bar agencies from spending money they don’t have except in emergencies.