Heartland Docs Indicate It Paid Gov’t Scientist for Work

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

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.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend