Heartland Docs Indicate It Paid Gov’t Scientist for Work


According to one of the documents that came out in last week’s scandal, the Heartland Institute plans to pay a federal scientist for his contributions to an annual climate-denial report. The proposed 2012 budget for the institute is one of the more interesting things to come out of the Heartland documents that were passed around the internet, as it includes a $1,000-per-month payment to a Department of Interior employee.

Posted on DeSmogBlog last week, the budget includes a monthly stipend for Indur Goklany, who serves as a senior adviser in the office of policy analysis at the Department of Interior. The document indicates that the money is compensation for authoring a chapter on “economics and policy” for the “Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change,” an annual paper that Heartland and other climate deniers release in response to the reports from the actual, United Nations-sanctioned scientific panel known as the IPCC.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, on Wednesday requested a Natural Resources Committee hearing to investigate whether this payment violates ethics rules at the DOI. Greenpeace also requested an investigation into this in a letter sent to DOI Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday. In it, the group notes that the ethics guidelines for federal employees state that they “generally may not receive pay for teaching, speaking and writing that relates to [their] official duties.”

The Heartland funding wouldn’t be the first time Goklany has worked with free-market think-tanks. According to his website, Goklany has also authored three books published by the Cato Institute and has written for the Reason Foundation and the Fraser Institute, three libertarian think-tanks.

Adam Fetcher, a spokesman for DOI, told Mother Jones that the department is reviewing the matter.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.