Skip to comments.Dr. James Hansenís growing financial scandal, now over a million dollars of outside income
Posted on 11/21/2011 2:50:25 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
It seems esteemed NASA astronomer turned climatologist turned paid activist Dr. James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) has not been reporting some income that he is required by law to do. How long will NASA continue to look the other way? Chris Horner explains. Anthony
A Summary of James E. Hansens NASA Ethics File
By Christopher Horner
NASA records released to resolve litigation filed by the American Tradition Institute reveal that Dr. James E. Hansen, an astronomer, received approximately $1.6 million in outside, direct cash income in the past five years for work related to and, according to his benefactors, often expressly for his public service as a global warming activist within NASA.
This does not include six-figure income over that period in travel expenses to fly around the world to receive money from outside interests. As specifically detailed below, Hansen failed to report tens of thousands of dollars in global travel provided to him by outside parties including to London, Paris, Rome, Oslo, Tokyo, the Austrian Alps, Bilbao, California, Australia and elsewhere, often business or first-class and also often paying for his wife as well to receive honoraria to speak about the topic of his taxpayer-funded employment, or get cash awards for his activism and even for his past testimony and other work for NASA.
Ethics laws require that such payments or gifts be reported on an SF278 public financial disclosure form. As detailed, below, Hansen nonetheless regularly refused to report this income.
Also, he seems to have inappropriately taken between $10,000 and $26,000 for speeches unlawfully promoting him as a NASA employee. This is despite NASA ordering him to return at least some of the money, with the rest apparently unnoticed by NASA. This raises troubling issues about Hansens, and NASAs, compliance with ethics rules, the general prohibition on not privately benefitting from public service, and even the criminal code prohibition on not having ones public employment income supplemented. All of this lucrative activity followed Hansen ratcheting up his global warming alarmism and activism to be more political which, now to his possible detriment, he has insisted is part of his job. As he cannot receive outside income for doing his job, he has placed himself in peril, assuming the Department of Justice can find a way to be interested in these revelations.
The following summarizes records produced by the Department of Justice to resolve litigation against the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for refusing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding the required financial disclosures Dr. James Hansen, director of NASAs Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
These records are his applications for outside employment or other activity (form 17-60), approvals and accompanying documents, and public financial disclosure (form SF 278).
As detailed in the American Tradition Institutes lawsuit which yielded these records, Hansen suddenly became the recipient of many, often lucrative offers of outside employment and awards after he escalated his political activism using his NASA position as a platform, and springboard. This began with a strident 60 Minutes interview in early 2006, alleging political interference by the Bush administration in climate science.
Hansen acknowledged this timing on his website, noting that first he was offered an award of a moderate amount of cash $10,000″ by an outside activist group. He claims to have turned this down because of the nominating process (without elaborating what that meant), and because of the impropriety of appearing to be financially rewarded for his outspokenness (I was concerned that it may create the appearance that I had spoken out about government censorship [sic] for the sake of the $).
Given that Hansen makes no bones about his (often outrageous) outspokenness and activism being, in his view, part of his job, this surely is also another way of saying it would look as if he were having his NASA salary supplemented by appreciative activists and others. That would violate the criminal code, 18 U.S.C. 209.
Yet, as the offers soon became larger, Hansen changed his mind.
The records reveal that NASA initially was very direct in warning Hansen of his responsibilities and prohibitions relating to these activities, which covered the subject of his public employment. Later, after Hansen gained much media attention and condemnation of his NASA superiors for (falsely) claiming he had been muzzled (the second president named Bush he claimed had muzzled him), certain clear restatements of the law were dropped from the approval letters responding to his applications for outside employment.
NASA oversight of Hansens compliance with ethics-related reporting requirements similarly waned. At no point did they seek reconciliation of his serially conflicting attestations detailed here.
Improper Receipt of Outside Income Without Obtaining Advance Permission
Hansens 2009 speech at Dartmouth University for a $5,000 honorarium and up to $1,000 in expenses came in violation of the clear rule against promoting his appearances as, or emphasizing his job with, NASA. It also had not been approved. NASAs Deputy Chief Counsel Laura Giza, after admonishing these violations, demanded he return the improperly obtained money:
[Y]ou may not accept the offered honorarium and travel expenses. If youve already received this money, you need to return it to Dartmouth.
Also, in the future, if you have not received word that one of your outside activity requests has been approved, or at least that the legal office has concurred in the request, you should contact the Goddard legal office about the request before engaging in that activity. NASA regulations require that you obtain approval for certain outside activities prior to engaging in that activity. 5 CFR 6901.103(d).
If there were further correspondence about this demand it would be in NASAs document production, but there are no such records. The only lawful scenario, therefore, is that Hansen quietly agreed to the demand, but did not inform NASA whether he complied. Otherwise, NASA, Hansen, or both have violated the ethics and/or transparency statutes and regulation.
Yet subsequent financial disclosure forms show Hansen attesting to accepting even more money, between $5,001 and $15,000, for a 2008 speech at Illinois Wesleyan University for which his file, according to NASA, contains no request for permission to engage in this outside employment, or approval to do so (each a condition precedent to lawfully engage in the activity, and to accepting the money).
There is no correspondence about these two glaring discrepancies in his filings reflecting more apparently improperly accepted outside income than most federal employees will ever see in their careers.
In order to continue his employment Hansen would therefore be required to bring himself back in compliance with the ethics rules by returning the money, between somewhere more than $10,000, and $26,000.
Although Hansen reported the income from both honoraria, he did not report receipt of travel expenses for him to get there. This omission is a pattern in his filings, to the tune of surely tens of thousands of dollars for airfare, meals and lodging to locations all around the country and Europe, all required by ethics laws to be reported.
For example, consider these failures to report often elegant air and hotel/resort accommodations received on his SF278 as required by law (the amount of direct cash income received from the party providing him travel, as well, is in parentheses):
The following is an incomplete list of other travel apparently accepted to make paid speeches and/or receive cash awards but not reported on SF278 financial disclosures:
Boston, Washington, DC (twice); Columbus, OH; Omaha, NE; Wilmington, DE; Ithaca, NY (business class); Chapel Hill, NC; Deerfield, IL (Sierra Club No Coal campaign); Dartmouth, NH; Alberta, Canada (as consultant to a law firm helping run an anti-oil sands campaign), Stanford; Minneapolis; Missoula, MT
Other travel apparently accepted but not reported, to provide expert testimony including on cases involving federal policy:
California (Central Valley Chrysler-Jeep v. Witherspoon), Vermont (Green Mountain Chrysler Plymouth etc v. Torti)
Failing to Report Gifts
World Wildlife Fund gave Hansen an engraved Montres Rolex watch, which typically run $8,000 and up (2006), but which was not reported by Hansen on his SF 278 under gifts, which must be reported if valued at more than $260.
Failure to Report Receipt of Free Legal Services
On his website Hansen said he began accepting free legal services in 2006. These are not reported on his financial disclosures, as they should be.
Also, NASAs document production shows him attesting to receiving more, separate free legal services in the form of an amicus brief drafted for he and a few others to intervene before the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA. This was not reported on his SF278, as required.
These lapses on both Hansens part and NASA demand scrutiny to determine how laws designed to protect the taxpayer are, or are not, being respected.
This story has been updated to correct some small errors and formatting issues@ 8:15AM and 9:50AM PST 11/19/11
Got to nail this crook!
It looks like he is bought and paid for. These “scientists” who advocate for global warming are bought just like prostitutes.
Global Warming We Can All Cheer
It’ll make even a scientist believe that 2+2=6 (for large values of 2, as 2 approaches 3).
Although, given Hansen’s output, I’m not too sure about that “scientist” part either.
Okay folks, I have had enough of this BS, time for people to stand up.
and I’m afraid to cheat the parking meter...
He’s now one of the rich, eeeeevil 1% the occupyidiots are whining about
When caught the agencies usually fire them but don't have them prosecuted. The thought is that would embarrass the agency and its mission.
Frankly, they should prosecute them ~
So it looks like working for the Green Lobby is much more lucrative then working for the Oil Lobby. Good thing some of us still care very little about that green paper.
Okay, let’s see what our great GOP House does about this scumbag Hansen.
It’s also way past time to get rid of NASA. That thing is a waste and a fraud at this point, and apparently serves only to push the socialist political agenda. Get rid of NASA and turn over any military applications it may still be involved in to the Pentagon.
I can hardly believe stinking NASA survived after its malicious stupidity - - the use of eco-friendly “green” foam - - caused the Columbia space shuttle to disintegrate on reentry and kill all those astronauts.
sheesh...with all that jet travel, he’s destroying the environment all on his own (snark)
When the Re-occupy Our Country gets going, Hansen had better try to go into voluntary exile, sneaking out while dressed as a burkah-clad hairy Muzzie broad.
The responses on PowerLine are priceless, and not one of them off the mark.
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