Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and the ranking member of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, sent a letter to Interior Department Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall this week requesting an investigation of potentially improper third party payments to DOI science official Indur Goklany. Goklany has faced ongoing questions about the appearance of his name in the recently publicized 2012 budget for the Heartland Institute, a think tank known for rejecting the overwhelming scientific consensus on the human causes of climate change.
In the document, first publicized by the environmental Web site DeSmogBlog, Goklany is listed as receiving $1,000 per month to write a chapter in a Heartland publication. Such a payment seems to contradict federal guidelines prohibiting federal officials from receiving third party payments for work in their field. Goklany has represented the United States at the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Grijalva’s letter to Kendall comes after Rep. Doc Hastings, the Committee chairman, rejected Grijalva’s Feb. 22 written request to hold a hearing on the issue. A Hastings spokeswoman told the Washington Free Beacon that committee staff “don’t anticipate the committee’s attention to be diverted to Rep. Grijalva’s request.”
The text of the new letter to Kendall is below. A PDF of the letter is reviewable at http://1.usa.gov/AcVfj1.
The Hon. Mary Kendall
Acting Inspector General, U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW – Mail Stop 4428
Washington, D.C. 20240
Dear Ms. Kendall,
I recently wrote to Rep. Doc Hastings, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, to request a hearing to determine whether a Department of the Interior (DOI) employee named Indur Goklany accepted outside payment for work in violation of DOI conflict of interest rules. I recently learned through the media that Rep. Hastings has decided not to pursue this matter.
American taxpayers deserve to know whether public servants are acting in their best interest. I write to request a full review of Dr. Goklany’s relationship with the Heartland Institute – a group whose recently publicized 2012 budget lists him as receiving $1,000 a month to write a chapter in a book designed to influence government climate policy – and an assessment of whether DOI conflict of interest standards adequately prevent the appearance of outside entities influencing employee decisions. Your assistance in this matter would be of great and timely value in re-establishing public trust in DOI’s objectivity.
As I wrote to Rep. Hastings, we do not know whether Dr. Goklany received the money he was apparently promised by the Heartland Institute. Nor do we know whether other Interior Department employees have been offered, or accepted, similar arrangements with other organizations that seek to influence federal policy. For that matter, we do not know what confidential information Dr. Goklany may have shared with Heartland officials as he negotiated his payment agreements. I respectfully request that your review seek answers to these questions. Public confidence in federal science decisions rightly depends on the perception that those decisions were not made with financial considerations in mind. Dr. Goklany’s appearance in Heartland’s budget – especially considering his prominent role as a one-time U.S. representative to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – needs to be explained if that confidence is going to be maintained.
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva
Member, House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands