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george mason university
In May 2013, DeSmog published the FOIA Facts (1, 2, 3, 4) series on the misdeeds of George Mason University (GMU) Professor Edward Wegman and his long-time helper Yasmin Said, authors of the long-discredited 2006 Wegman Report (WR). Behind those blog posts was a much more detailed report, published only today. In May 2013, I sent that to a few Federal agencies and to Aurali Dade, GMU's AVP for Research Integrity and Assurance. I had thought to be done with the Wegman/Said/GMU saga, but was proved wrong.
A DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Kristina Moore, the Senate staffer listed as the author of U.S. Sen. David Vitter's (R-La.) “green billionaire's club” report published by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) on July 30, has career roots tracing back to the Koch Brothers' right-wing machine.
Metadata from Vitter's green billionaire's club report shows Moore's name as the author, though it remains unclear whether or not she authored it alone. Moore did not respond to a question about her authorship sent via email.
During a July 30 presentation of the report given to conservative transparency advocacy group Cause of Action, Vitter thanked Moore and several other staffers for their help putting together the 92-page document.
Moore — EPW's senior counsel for oversight and investigations — went to law school at George Mason University School of Law, graduating in 2007. David and Charles Koch both serve as major donors to George Mason University and also endow George Mason's Mercatus Center, where Charles sits on the Board of Directors.
Kristina Moore; Photo Credit: Bertelsmann Foundation
While attending law school, Moore concurrently worked as chief of staff for former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), according to financial disclosure documents obtained by DeSmogBlog.
As a byproduct of FOIA Facts 1 and FOIA Facts 2, Ed Wegman or Yasmin Said are now alleged to have included plagiarism or falsification in 9 papers or talks associated with funding from the Army Research Organization (ARO grants 0447 or 0059) or the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA grant 5876), 2005-2009.
[05/31/15 The full report is now online, as a result of this $2M lawsuit.]
Of 6 plagiarized works already reported to George Mason University (GMU), Elsevier retracted one. By FOIA, the other 5 had either been claimed for credit on grants or cited to support Said's grant proposal. Study of grant claims unearthed 2 more works with problems.
Finally, Wegman wrote a 2009 grant proposal for half a million dollars, but evidence shows about half the text was plagiarized. Although unconnected with Federal funding, plagiarism or falsification are alleged against 4 more works. Of 13 total works with problems, 7 involved both Wegman and Said, and 3 by each alone, so they cannot blame all this on grad students.
As begun in FOIA Facts 1, Ed Wegman and Rep. Joe Barton repeatedly called the Wegman Report “pro bono”* but Wegman and Said later claimed it as work done for existing Federal grants paid quarterly. In response to Dan Vergano FOIA request Wegman and Said each said the work was pro bono, years after claiming for credit it and much other irrelevant work. Together, they “charged” 48 inappropriate works to grants they effectively treated as slush funds.
Wegman was funded by Army Research Office (ARO) grant 0447, $217K for “Analytical and Graphical Methods for Streaming Data with Applications to Netcentric Warfare.” He claimed credit for 75 papers and talks, listed in the thumbnail at left or full-sized in Sheet §0.1.
Dark blue shows fit (possibly relevant) papers, but almost all acknowledged earlier grants and were published or mostly done before 0447. Wegman improperly claimed them again in late 2008, perhaps because he had done so little new relevant work in peer-reviewed research journals. Ignoring them leaves just cyan (light blue) talks, outnumbered by grant-unfit works: green for alcoholism, red for attempts to discredit climate science and orange for miscellaneous others unrelated to his or Said's grants.
The chronology matches well - fit papers essentially vanished after 2005, as Wegman plunged into climate and worked on alcoholism with Said, who claimed the Wegman Report for her grant. A 91-page report on unfamiliar topics and Congressional hearings had to consume much more effort than anything else. Even by simple counts, more than half of each person's works were inappropriate, but the grant time spent inappropriately was almost certainly larger.
Lamar Smith (R-TX) might want to investigate obvious funds misuse before trying to meddle with the National Science Foundation.
“Congress has a responsibility to review questionable research paid for by hard-working American taxpayers. … Public funds should be used to benefit the American people.”
The “Wegman Report”, led by Edward Wegman of George Mason University (GMU) got criticized in 2010's Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized. Experts called it “obvious” even “shocking” plagiarism. GMU's incompetent handling, mistreatment of complainants and flawed rulings were mostly documented in March, but recent FOIAs expose more untruths.
Is the harsh title fair? Read on, then study the 69-page attachment.
GMU Provost Peter Stearns' February letter to GMU faculty made claims of non-plagiarism that contradicted not only experts, but themselves. The process consumed almost two years to assess four (4) pages of text.
Stearns' letter was even more untruthful than previously known. It fabricated an imaginary second investigation committee, seemingly to somehow excuse crucial contradictions. This seemed an attempt to defend the Wegman Report at all costs, even with potential problems from Federal agencies who expect schools to handle misconduct properly. They fund much of GMU's actual research, done by faculty that to the best of my knowledge are normal, credible researchers.
However, a few groups in GMU are closely, even uniquely enmeshed with people behind the machinery of anti-science, such as Charles Koch, Ken Cuccinelli, David Schnare, Fred Singer, and Pat Michaels, plus the Heartland Institute and key Washington think tanks. GMU even has a long history of tobacco connections, oddly relevant.
Following are a few brief summaries to motivate the title's phrases:
George Mason University’s Edward Wegman and Yasmin Said are back in the news, having just silently disappeared as Editors of a Wiley journal in which they had authored two plagiarized articles.
But now, FOIA information shows that Wegman first misled Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and then never released code and data he promised. During Summer 2006, David Ritson tried to get climatology statistics code from Wegman, to no avail, so he appealed to Waxman, who contacted Wegman. Waxman forwarded the reply to Ritson, who wrote at CA (or at Deep Climate for more discussion):
'The key paragraph in Wegman’s reply was
'… Material based on our report is being prepared for peer review journals(1) at present. It is not clear to me that before the journal peer review process is complete that we have an academic obligation to disclose the details of our methods. Nonetheless, I assure you that as soon as we are functional again, I will create a website(2) that fully discloses all supporting material related to our report to the extent possible. (Some of the code we used was developed by former and current students working at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia and may not be disclosed without approval through the Navy’s public release process.)“(3)'
Almost everything there was false or at best misleading/wrong.
When does a study on the unconventional shale gas industry become a “shill gas study”? The quick answer: when nearly everyone writing and peer reviewing it has close ties to the industry they're purportedly doing an “objective” study on.
The newest kid on the block: a recent study published by SUNY Buffalo's Shale Resources and Society Institute, titled, ”Environmental Impacts During Shale Gas Drilling: Causes, Impacts and Remedies.”
The four co-authors of the “study” all have backgrounds, directly or indirectly, in the oil and gas industry:
Timothy Considine and Robert Watson: A professor emeritus at University of Wyoming and a professor at Pennsylvania State University respectively, Considine and Watson co-authored a Marcellus Shale Coalition “jobs” study often cited by the industry and mainstream press titled, “The Economic Impacts of the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Play,” published in May 2010. The Marcellus Shale Coalition is a gas industry lobbying group representing nearly all of the corporations fracking for gas in the Marcellus. That “jobs” data was used in a July 2011 New York fracking jobs “study” shown to be farcical by Food and Water Watch in a November 2011 report, as covered by DeSmogBlog.
Nicholas Considine: Head of the University of Wyoming's Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy. He co-authored, along with his brother Timothy and Robert Watson, a Manhattan Institute-commissioned paper published in June 2011 titled, “The Economic Opportunities of Shale Energy Development.” The Institute is heavily funded by the oil and gas industry.
- John Martin: Martin is a Consultant at JPMartin Energy Strategy LLC. According to his biography appearing on the JPMartin website, he has spent decades working in various sectors of the oil and gas industry, during which he also was responsible for overseeing the research and writing of the first examination of “the natural gas potential of New York's Utica Shale that helped stimulate significant industry investment in this resource.” Martin also serves as co-director of the recently created SUNY Buffalo's Shale Resources and Society Institute, which published this “study.”