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Follow the money

And while we do that, let's hope the media will follow up on this story but don't bet on it:

The NASA scientist who once claimed the Bush administration tried to "silence" his global warming claims is now accused of receiving more than $1.2 million from the very environmental organizations whose agenda he advocated.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington, D.C., a group claims NASA is withholding documents that show James Hansen failed to comply with ethics rules and financial disclosures regarding substantial compensation he earned outside his $180,000 taxpayer-paid position as director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

"Hansen's office appears to be somewhat of a rogue operation. It's clearly a taxpayer-funded global warming advocacy organization," said Chris Horner, a co-founder of The American Tradition Institute, which filed the lawsuit. "The real issue here is, has Hansen been asking NASA in writing, in advance, for permission for these outside activities? We have reason to believe that has not been occurring."

The lawsuit claims Hansen privately profited from his public job in violation of federal ethics rules, and NASA allowed him to do it because of his influence in the media and celebrity status among environmental groups, which rewarded him handsomely the last four years.

My guess is that this will disappear from news cycles rather quickly as it's news that can't get past mainstream filters.  If only Hansen were a Catholic priest charged with molestation, or if only he were a Republican presidential candidate with multiple lines of credit at Tiffanys... then and only then would we actually get any media interest in the story.

If it gets any airtime at all, it'll be about how Fox News broke the story or about how conservatively radical the folks at The American Tradition Institute truly are. 

The idea that a government employee would be personally profiting to the  tunes of millions over his taxpayer funded advocacy of an issue sourced in pseudoscience simply can't be delved into.

Doesn't fit the meme.


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Comments (29)

But where people get their ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

But where people get their money is not important if the “support” manmade global warming. Doctoring data, making false claims, etc doesn’t either. What is important is that their conclusion supports manmade global warming and its supposedly dire consequences. The science is settled. (Sarcasm off)

Those aren't bribes, they a... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Those aren't bribes, they are merely rewards for advancing the lefty agenda.

"The idea that a government... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"The idea that a government employee would be personally profiting...."

Just check the members of Congress. Start with Pelosi and Feinstein.

"The idea that a governm... (Below threshold)
Art W:

"The idea that a government employee would be personally profiting to the tunes of millions over his taxpayer funded advocacy of an issue sourced in pseudoscience simply can't be delved into."

And it's just an idea. We haven't seen any proof, or evidence that malfeasance has taken place, the story at this point is just the accusations of plaintiffs who've filed a law suit.

So do news outlets report the accusations as facts, smearing this person simply because someone has accused them of wrong doing?

"News organizations" don't - but that wont' stop partisan parties from publicizing the accusations as "facts."

Meanwhile, it appears clear that there's smoke, and where's there is smoke there may indeed be fire.

I'm not suggesting that Horner is innocent of wrong doing. But accepting fees and honorariums in and of itself doesn't establish that he did anything wrong.

Rick says "follow the money" but then doesn't show us "the money" -- he just weaves a tin-hat tale of deception and media coverup which hasn't been established in fact.

Here's the money:

Gifts, speaking fees, prizes and consulting compensation include:

-- A shared $1 million prize from the Dan David Foundation for his "profound contribution to humanity." Hansen's cut ranged from $333,000 to $500,000, Horner said, adding that the precise amount is not known because Hansen's publicly available financial disclosure form only shows the prize was "an amount in excess of $5,000."

-- The 2010 Blue Planet prize worth $550,000 from the Asahi Glass Foundation, which recognizes efforts to solve environmental issues.

-- The Sophie Prize for his "political activism," worth $100,000. The Sophie Prize is meant to "inspire people working towards a sustainable future."

-- Speaking fees totaling $48,164 from a range of mostly environmental organizations.

-- A $15,000 participation fee, waived by the W.J. Clinton Foundation for its 2009 Waterkeeper Conference.

-- $720,000 in legal advice and media consulting services provided by The George Soros Open Society Institute. Hansen said he did not take "direct" support from Soros but accepted "pro bono legal advice."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/22/nasa-scientist-accused-using-celeb-status-among-environmental-groups-to-enrich/#ixzz1Q1aBoTUR

Waiving a $15000 fee isn't cash and doesn't in my view constitute personal enrichment. Pro-bono legal advice isn't cash either.

And lots of people receive awards, honorariums, prizes, etc. Hansen should disclose those as is legal reguired and if he failed to do so should suffer appropriate legal consequences.

Here's NASAs FOIA final determination. For some odd reason there is very little reporting from the right that explains NASAs position.

http://www.atinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/ATI-Hansen-NASA-FOIA-Exhibit-Eight.pdf

A lawsuit has been filed and the matter will be settled in court.

And lots of people recei... (Below threshold)
jim m:

And lots of people receive awards, honorariums, prizes, etc.

Actually, in many parts of the federal government it is prohibited to accept a speaking fee of any amount. I know this is the case with the NIH, where I could not pay a speaker an honorarium of just a couple hundred bucks for his inconveniencing himself to fly to Chicago for the event. As I recall the NIH actually paid his travel expenses rather than allow them to be paid by the professional society that he was speaking to.

The reason for the prohibition is to prevent the appearance of bribery, which Mr Hansen has not done. It appears very much that he is in the pocket of the AGW industry.

My colleague and cyber frie... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

My colleague and cyber friend Jim M beat me to it. Comrade Art needs to read the NIH's rules regarding disclosure and emoluments of any form. They are truly draconian. Basically, the NIH assumes that someone who buys you a cup of coffee has bought your soul too.

While I am loathe to be a w... (Below threshold)
DaveinNC:

While I am loathe to be a wet blanket here, the result of all of this will be that this guy Hansen will resign his position with the federal government, and then take a job with one of those environmental advocacy organizations he was receiving the funds from. There wont be any repercussions or penalties (especially since he is parroting the party line about climate change).
I agree with you, Rick, in that this story will disappear quickly from the news cycle; an announcement will be made about the guy resigning, and that will be it.
This may seem to be a somewhat jaded response, but it has become du jure with this crowd.

"So do news outlets report ... (Below threshold)
engineer:

"So do news outlets report the accusations as facts, smearing this person simply because someone has accused them of wrong doing?"

Only MSNBC, CNN, CBS, ABC the DNC....

Art has a point; at this ju... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Art has a point; at this juncture, Hansen has only been accused of malfeasance. OTOH, the lawsuit seeks information bearing on whether his conduct has been ethical or not.

Surely we can all agree that someone advocating a given policy position with an undisclosed financial incentive to do so has committed a gross breach of ethics. So the question is whether Hansen is such a person. We need to get to the bottom of this.

But accepting fees... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:
But accepting fees and honorariums in and of itself doesn't establish that he did anything wrong.

That's not what the suit says. The complaint cites various regulations which prohibit just this sort of thing, and which in turn impose various consequences for violations.

the story at this point is just the accusations of plaintiffs who've filed a law suit.

Even the complaint doesn't really make any "accusations"--the only thing the suit is asking for is production of records which should have been produced under the prior FOIA request.

Well, if you're actually "s... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

Well, if you're actually "surprised" by these allegations, or if you're of the opinion there's no reason for the media even to follow up, then you're probably dumb enough to be a Democrat.

The media is still too busy... (Below threshold)
retired military:

The media is still too busy reporting the contents of Sarah Palin's emails. I notice Art doesnt mention anything about them anymore. I wonder why.

Art W"So do news o... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Art W

"So do news outlets report the accusations as facts, smearing this person simply because someone has accused them of wrong doing?
"


Funny that didnt seem to be the practise of the news media when the person being investigated was Sarah Palin.


"News organizations" don't - but that wont' stop partisan parties from publicizing the accusations as "facts."

And here Art must be speaking about Sarah Palin. Or is it Dick Cheney in the plame affair?

Wow! Art W holding up the "... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Wow! Art W holding up the "innocent until proven guilty" line the left likes when it is their ox getting gored. Just three weeks ago Art W bolding told us Palin's emails were going to destroy her by exposing all the illegal activities, etc. Of course Art W. championed Palin's innocence until after the fact. NOT. What bullshit. Art W, you are a caricature of an idiot. ww

The emerging pattern here i... (Below threshold)
Constitution First:

The emerging pattern here is a malfeasant press and non-profit "watch-dog groups" that only watch for one breed of dog. When you shine a light in dirty places, you will always find rats & cockroaches, but when the press makes excuses for their being there... well isn't that is something we can shine a little on too?

Art W"And it's jus... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Art W

"And it's just an idea. We haven't seen any proof, or evidence that malfeasance has taken place, the story at this point is just the accusations of plaintiffs who've filed a law suit."

You know sorta like they did to Sarah Palin in Alaska while she wss governor.

Aint it a bitch when hypocracy just up and smacks you in the face.


Well you know, RM, the left... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Well you know, RM, the left only demands evidence when they are being accused. When they are doing the accusing, evidence or facts are unnecessary and often rather inconvenient.

"What bullshit. Art W, you ... (Below threshold)
Sep14:

"What bullshit. Art W, you are a caricature of an idiot. ww"


He's not a caricature, he's a facsimile..

Have some more grape Wart and try again..


"Even the complaint does... (Below threshold)
Art W:

"Even the complaint doesn't really make any "accusations"--the only thing the suit is asking for is production of records which should have been produced under the prior FOIA request."

Well, I was going off of what Rick quoted above:

The lawsuit claims Hansen privately profited from his public job in violation of federal ethics rules, and NASA allowed him to do it because of his influence in the media and celebrity status among environmental groups, which rewarded him handsomely the last four years.

If you tell me that's not true I'll believe you, but it says the lawsuit accused Hansen of privately profiting. But I understand that the suit is seeking disclosures that NASA won't provide also.

And since there have been specific allegations made I say let both parties have their day in court.

4. Posted by Art W | June 2... (Below threshold)
Sep14:

4. Posted by Art W | June 22, 2011 1:04 PM | Score: -21 (23 votes cast)


By the way Wart, good job on the numbers...Why'd you even bother voting up? is it Koool Aid withdrawals?

If you tell me tha... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:
If you tell me that's not true I'll believe you, but it says the lawsuit accused Hansen of privately profiting.

I misspoke to a certain extent. The complaint indeed says that Hansen has made a lot of money from may have been improper sources. One of the issues is whether he was granted permission to earn that money outside of his government employment, which, it seems, may be allowed (if permission was granted). NASA simply refuses to produce the records, including any records relating to that permission.

But, Hansen is not a named defendant. The lawsuit is against NASA, and seeks relief based on NASA's failure to comply with FOIA.

"But, Hansen is not a na... (Below threshold)
Art W:

"But, Hansen is not a named defendant. The lawsuit is against NASA, and seeks relief based on NASA's failure to comply with FOIA."

I see. Thanks for that. I read that the NASA guidelines say something about protecting private information but that's exactly the kind of bureaucrat-ese language that you'd expect in a coverup.

The truth will come out, and the truth may be that Hansen received monies he should not have, in which case some heads will roll and he'll have to give up the ill-gotten gains.

Just so you know the SF Bay... (Below threshold)
glenn:

Just so you know the SF Bay Area media will not report this story at all. Three days after the Weiner story broke SfGate reported Weiners denial. They ignored the Edwards story for so long it became a joke in the comments threads.

I think the point is not ju... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

I think the point is not just the existence of any impropriety, but also the appearance of impropriety.

Even if Hansen is as pure as the driven snow, it looks bad if he is advocating environmental policies and yet possibly not disclosing compensation from environmental groups. He - and NASA - need to make full disclosure. He's holding himself out as addressing the science; we need to know - and have a right to know - any possible non-scientific motivation connected to his statements.

What's the problem? If he criticized global warming alarmism, and refused to disclose compensation from oil companies, lefties would be howling. And rightly so (for once).

Retired Military: " I no... (Below threshold)
PBunyan:

Retired Military: " I notice Art doesnt mention anything about them anymore. I wonder why."

Grammatically incorrect, but prophetically dead on.

Jay is right. Even if Hans... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Jay is right. Even if Hansen had prior approval to take the money and every i is dotted and t crossed, the appearance is that he was taking money to advocate a specific viewpoint. Rather than being a scientist be became a paid lobbyist.

That's why places like the NIH are so nuts about any sort of payment to their employees.

Even if he at one time believed in the science his accepting heaps of dough makes his advocacy highly suspect. Any science pointing against AGW would be a direct threat to his livelihood. Would he pursue such leads? And how much more evidence would it take for him to overcome his desire for the income before he became a scientist again?

Really this is only partially about a corrupt scientist, it is more about an agency that has become a corrupt advocate for a partisan political viewpoint. With the senior management of NASA being paid lobbyists for AGW interests how much of their other work can we trust? How many problems with the space program were due to undue influence? What other policies are they being paid to advocate?

Bribes, kickbacks an... (Below threshold)
Sep14:


Bribes, kickbacks and pay offs? Throw in pawnsy stimulis schemes and you have another czar of greed for Barry's administration.

What I never understood abo... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

What I never understood about Hansen was his claims of being suppressed by the Bush administration. I mean if you can publish books on the subject, do the talk show circuit openly delivering your message and crying that you were being quieted, and then getting paid to go around the country and giving your stance on AGW then can you really claim you were being "silenced"?

As for his taking money for it? Pffft. It's like saying water is wet. The entire AGW effort has been nothing but money driven with and about a lot of hot air from the beginning.

What I never understood ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

What I never understood about Hansen was his claims of being suppressed by the Bush administration.




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