Congressman Calls For Hearing Into Heartland Institute Payments to Federal Employee Indur Goklany

Wed, 2012-02-22 12:50Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Congressman Calls For Hearing Into Heartland Institute Payments to Federal Employee Indur Goklany

Representative Raúl M. Grijalva today called for a full Natural Resources Committee hearing to probe whether Indur Goklany, a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Interior Department, improperly received payments from the Heartland Institute while collecting a paycheck from U.S. taxpayers.

Rep. Grijalva, the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, urged his fellow Congressmen to hold a hearing as early as next week to determine whether Goklany “received money he was promised by the Heartland Institute for writing a chapter in a book focused on climate policy in apparent violation of federal rules, among other issues.”

This is just the first of what should and will likely be many hearings into the facts revealed in the 'Denialgate' leaked Heartland Institute documents.

Heartland’s leaked 2012 Proposed Budget document indicates that it plans to pay Goklany $1,000 per month this year to write a chapter on “Economics and Policy” for a report by the Heartland-funded NIPCC.  Greenpeace notes in its letter to DOI Secretary Ken Salazar today that federal employees are warned not to take payments from outside organizations, particularly for “teaching, speaking and writing that relates to [their] official duties.”


Goklany.org mentions that he’s “worked with federal and state governments, think tanks, and the private sector for over 35 years.”

Other climate denier think tanks Goklany is affiliated with include the Cato Institute, which published both of Goklany’s books, and the Reason Foundation which has published multiple “Policy Studies” by Goklany attacking the IPCC and claming climate change impacts are exaggerated.  He was involved in a Competitive Enterprise Institute film countering Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. He's also affiliated with the Global Warming Policy Foundation and the International Policy Network, according to Sourcewatch.

Goklany was also the Julian Simon Fellow at the anti-environmental Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) in 2000, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (2002-2003), and the winner of the Julian Simon Prize and Award (2007).

Goklany is a regular guest contributor on denier blog Watts Up With That, posting as recently as a few weeks ago. 

Goklany is listed as a Senior Advisor on the Interior Department’s Office of Policy Analysis current staff list.

Congress should ask why Goklany or other federal employees would consider it ethical to accept funding and other support from anti-science think tanks while receiving a paycheck from U.S. taxpayers?

How long has he been on the Heartland payroll? Was he paid by Heartland or other front groups during his stint representing the U.S. government in front of the UN IPCC?

Comments

If he’s so busy with all that stuff, when does he have time to do work for the tax payers.

Don’t you think this is awfully short-sighted. If you’re looking for a purge of advocates from US taxpayer-funded positions it should be noted that at least 4 names on your experts list are associated with .gov websites or email addresses.

http://www.desmogblog.com/media-journalist-contact-list-global-warming-climate-change-experts-scientists

They are not ‘purged’ for advocacy but for having a lucrative side job on the tax payers’ dime. Yes, scientists should be happy to talk with the outside world about their work. But where I come from, you get paid only once for every piece of work you do.

 

After all, top scientists like Dr Hasen would never take money from outside organisations.

The investigation should be thorough and complete, leaving no stone un-turned about government employed scientists taking payments from outside organisations.

Inquiring minds want to know the truth.

Winning prizes? Envious now, are we?

 

This is the problem Martin.

 If you think that the prize dollars to Hansen are different to the Heartland dollars to Goklany then that’s fine but irrelevant. Whether you or I think something is an acceptable form of financial gain is irrelevant because neither of us get to define the rules and neither of us get to decide where the purge starts or ends. It’s great to see your enemy suffering here but my understanding of history is these sort of ethical or moral purges have never been very kind to anti-establishment figures or those that wish to overturn the present status quo so why encourage them.

From the wording of the greenpeace letter “……warned not to take payment from outside organizations, particularly for ” teaching, speaking and writing that relates to [their] official duties.” It seems that the rule is sufficiently broad to include an awful lot of the usual business of any senior scientist.

HR, my native language is not English, but even to me “tak[ing] payment […] for” does pretty obviously not include receiving an award or prize… notice the word “for”? HR, what is your native language?

 

Fine.

If you enjoy ethical witch hunts there is nothing much I can do about it

My understanding is that Dr Hanson received $1.6 million over a 5 years period  for his outside interests. As ‘Orkneygal’ says, I am sure the Congressman will also press for this to be investigated.

My understanding is that Dr Hanson received $1.6 million over a 5 years period  for his outside interests

Funny thing is, Google only comes up with idiot links for this claim, like Watts (and I spelled it “James Hansen” as all the alarmists do). Do you have anything more solid to base your ‘understanding’ on?

Otherwise you’re just proving that a scientist doesn’t even need to do anything untoward to get viciously attacked. Perhaps Peter Gleick is doing his colleagues a service by deflecting all that to himself – assuming of course that the sum total of ignorant loudmouth viciousness is an invariant.

 

… but just ‘cause naysayers say it, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

To be fair, its not like we’re checking.


The biggest amounts (claimed) are for prizes.  Dude.. he won something for good work.  Good job on him for that.

The next biggest is travel expenses.  Whatever…  That’s a common practice.

But on the other hand, its kind of a who cares thing.  You have to connect the dots with motivation. ie. has he somehow faked billions of data points in order to fool the world into falling for climate change?  NOT LIKELY.  Those first class trips look pretty perky though…  Hmmm?

Also, he’s not on salary for someone else.

Oh yes Orc, there is no difference at all is there? Its like Robert Mugabe and Neslon Mandella both accepting money. Lets just stop there eh? Their actions don’t matter, just the fact that both got money eh? Is that the only factor that needs to be taken into account?

Deniers love cherry picking. The sad thing is, they think no one notices.

 

“What?” is an interesting question, but “Why?” is far more important.

Eric Blair can tell you that;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_and_the_English_Language

Wow, the opposite of the Six Rules seem to be followed religiously by Heartland.

Federal workers are not prohibited from outside work in general. It is up to their supervisors to  assess the adequacy of their work for the federal government.

Federal workers must declare their outside work on confidential forms. Agency lawyers review  forms for possible conflicts of interest. If Goklany declared his outside income accurately, he’s sort of covered. With the information now available, I would expect the lawyers to send him an immediate cease-and-desist letter, at the least. Also, if he did declare, I wonder why legal staff didn’t catch the “appearance of conflict of interest” earlier. I don’t however, know what his exact duties are.

If he did not declare, or misrepresented his work for Heartland, he’s in bigger trouble. Penalties occur for “appearance of conflict of interest”; I knew of one federal employee who ran into legal trouble for this.

 

And if Goklany’s supervisor was complicit in any misdeeds?  Any knowledge of who that or they may be & whether they too are holdovers from the Bush administration?

Thank you, GingerLadySlipper.

http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/02/gleickgate-climate-change-activism-takes-a-big-step-backward/#comment-122425

If supervisor sees  Mr. X writing nongovernment work at his desk, using government computers to store his work on, then he would be aware of his sideline. Mr. X is pretty stupid, and is in trouble. But if Mr.X is working during his own time, not on or using government property, the supervisor wouldn’t be aware of Mr.X’s parttime work. Mr. X is not obligated to tell him. 

Mr. X is obligated to fill out an interminable form every year and turn in directly into the legal department. Legal sends you the forms yearly and asks you to fill them out if applicable. I forget if you have to sign one if you have no other paying work. I also forget if you have to fill out volunteer work– I don;t think so.

I filed yearly, as a rental property owner, and I believe I had to file stocks too. Usually my outside activity was approved without comment. One year, a junior lawyer called me and asked why I had omitted a property I had filed last year. I had sold it – duh.

Back to Goklany – Congressional inquiries received high priority and his supervisor is certainly  aware of it now.  I would expect an investigation will result, including questions being asked of his supervisor. As to who knows what, I can’t guess. Will be following with interest.

At this distance, it seems to me that Goklany’s activities with Heartland conflict with the law’s intent. If he filed exactly what he is doing, the lawyers should have disapproved his outside employment, IMO. (I’m not a lawyer and don’t know if DOI lawyers do their job checking the paperwork. The IG office does not lend confidence, judging by the bizarre questions put to Monnett. However they are a different entity that DOI’s legal staff, which handles ordinary legal duties, including paperwork from employees, procurement checking, copyright protection, etc., and are hired and managed by the DOI. These lawyers should be mainly or entirely career staff.  They hate Congressional inquiries about possible illegal activities of staff. 

If Goklany instigated the inquiry into Monnett, he is protected as a whistle blower by the strong laws Congress passed. What happens if a whistle blower makes false allegations? I don’t know.




 

Some internet speculation suggests that Goklany accused the whale scientist, Dr. Monnett, of unethical conduct in his report on the drowned polar bears. I have no idea if this is likely. See the commenter Steve Bloom on Eli’s blog.

http://rabett.blogspot.com/2011/09/inside-job.html

The multiple investigations of Monnett seem never to have been finished. (I’ve read the tedious   transcripts; the questions are inane). While he is employed currently at DOI, it appears his research career is still on hold.

GingerLadySlipper,

The interrogations by criminal investigatars of the IG of the Department of Interior into the science of Monnett’s peer-reviewed scientific paper was extremely bizarre and chilling.

Scientists opposing ‘skeptics’ with scientific arguments (such as Santer and Mann) have been through Inhofe-triggered “criminal investigations” before, but as far as I know, the Monnett case was the first one when a federal scientist was dismissed from his position for publishing a peer-reviewed paper and following Department rules by the book.

With Monnett being in charge of $ 50 million budget for Arctic wildlife studies, and his subsequent dismissal, right after which the Department of Interior approved Shell’s oil exploration plans in the Chucki sea, is bizarre and frightening.

That incident also raised the question as to why the IG (an organization supposedly operating independently of the Department of Interior) would actually act on an allegation of “scientific misconduct” in an old peer-reviewed scientific paper, rather than simply leave that up that challenge up to other scientists.

The Monnett affair smells like the worst possible political intervention at very high level, and the fact that there has not been a single official report published in this case is again bizarre. I think there is a lot of crap there to be uncovered, and Inhofe’s role is very suspect (considering his ‘interest’ in the case at that time).

Goklany may indeed know a lot more about this, but it’s unlikely he will talk…

The prolonged investigation of Monnett, the bizarre questions, the uninformed investigators, the use of investigators to probe scientific results, the lack of a resolution to date after a long period, and the damage to the career of a good scientist apparently because he had the nerve to observe drowned polar bears are of grave concern to me.

This is not the way government investigations of possible scientific fraud are normally done. I saw a scientific investigation. Outside scientists were brought into a committee together with inhouse staff. They interrogated the suspicious data and queried the researcher. Examination showed the data had been unacceptably altered. The employee left in disgrace.

I can’t figure out what has kept the Monnett investigation going, the transcripts show nothing of interest. Somebody has a bee in their bonnet and won’t let go of it, nor explain what the inquiry is about.

 

[x]

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