Feds Move Toward Criminal Inquiry of BP Investigators looking into whether it skirted federal law By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted May 29, 2010 12:02 PM CDT 13 comments Comments A still from the video feed Saturday morning. (AP Photo/BP PLC) (Newser) – The Justice Department appears to be very serious about bringing criminal charges against BP. A preliminary investigation is under way into whether the company skirted federal safety laws and then misled officials about its ability to plug the leak, reports the Los Angeles Times. Such investigations are often formalities, but the scope of this one looks to go well beyond that. "Even in this early stage, it has the earmarks of one of the largest investigative undertakings of the Obama administration," writes Richard A. Serrano. President Obama has asked Congress to set aside $10 million for the inquiry, and high-ranking members of two of the department's big divisions (civil and environment) are in charge.