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Scientist calling for RICO investigation on skeptics is now being investigated himself

Psychological projection anyone?

Remember how some climate scientists wanted to give up debating science and potentially jail skeptics instead? These were the 20 “scientists” who reasoned by looking for “tobacco tactics” in opponent’s arguments. They called for a RICO investigation — a the kind of racketeering investigation done on the mafia. I pointed out their team used more “tobacco tactics” against skeptics than anything the skeptics did, but looks like that may have been only the minor part of their projection of their own flaws.

It turns out that the scientist driving the letter, along with his wife and daughter, has made over $5m  above his university salary, and now questions are being raised in Congress about his “double dipping”. The National Science Foundation is very unhappy about scientists who blur the line between their university and their outside consulting, and earn twice for doing the same job. I hear people have been jailed for this sort of thing.

Have a look at how well the leader of the group-of-20 has been doing: meet  Jagadish Shukla, professor of climate dynamics at George Mason University, who must now be wishing he hadn’t called for an investigation.

Their letter was posted on the website of Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES), a non-profit, tax-exempt research institute led by Shukla. Oddly, after the media attention, the RICO request letter suddenly disappeared off the website in late September, with a note saying it was “inadvertantly posted“. Oops? This is about the same time the investigation he requested turned around to bite him. Roger Pielke Jr investigated Shukla’s 990 filings and the odd way a Prof at a public university was also earning millions on the side. That was reported and expanded upon by Steve McIntyre.

Ian Tuttle at the National Review picks up their story:

The curious disappearance set several people inquiring. It turns out that heading up IGES is nice work if you can get it. The Washington Free Beacon reports that since 2001 the organization has received more than $63 million — 98 percent of its total revenue — from taxpayers, mainly in the form of grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. And an astonishing amount of that money has ended up in Dr. Shukla’s pocket.

Not only did a lot end up in Dr Shukla’s pocket, but a lot ended up in his wife’s and daughter’s pockets too. His family has gained some $5.6million in compensation from IGES since 2001, plus his daughter’s salary (whatever that was). Shukla also earned a salary from George Mason University, a nice $314k last year.

This “double-dipping” — receiving compensation from a research organization on top of academic compensation — is prohibited by the federal agencies from which IGES receives money, as well as by George Mason University, as detailed by Climate Audit’s Steve McIntyre. Yet IGES officially joined the university, as part of the College of Science, in 2013.

Over the years, as Shukla earned more from his university, he and his wife earned more from the non-profit too. Too much is never enough?

As Steve McIntyre reported:

“Despite the various changes in grant structure, one constant (or rather steadily increasing amount) has been the several sources of compensation to Shukla and his wife.

In 2001, the earliest year thus far publicly available, in 2001, in addition to his university salary (not yet available, but presumably about $125,000), Shukla and his wife received a further $214,496  in compensation from IGES (Shukla -$128,796; Anne Shukla – $85,700).  Their combined compensation from IGES doubled over the next two years to approximately $400,000 (additional to Shukla’s university salary of say $130,000), for combined compensation of about $530,000 by 2004.

Shukla’s university salary increased dramatically over the decade reaching $250,866 by 2013 and $314,000 by 2014.  (In this latter year, Shukla was paid much more than Ed Wegman, a George Mason professor of similar seniority). Meanwhile, despite the apparent transition of IGES to George Mason, the income of the Shuklas from IGES continued to increase, reaching $547,000 by 2013.  Combined with Shukla’s university salary,  the total compensation of Shukla and his wife exceeded $800,000 in both 2013 and 2014.  In addition, as noted above, Shukla’s daughter continued to be employed by IGES in 2014; IGES also distributed $100,000 from its climate grant revenue to support an educational charity in India which Shukla had founded.”

Perhaps not so coincidentally, the other signatories have links to George Mason University or IGES.

Five other George Mason employees were RICO20 signatories, four of whom are long-time Shukla associates: Dirmeyer, Straus, Paul Schopf and Barry Klinger. The other George Mason RICO 20 signatory, Edward Maibach, is in some sort of climate communications and, together with Heidi Cullen, holds a $2,998,178 grant from NSF.  Many of the other RICO20 signatories had previous associations with IGES. Kevin Trenberth and Mike Wallace had both been on its “Science Advisory Committee” in the past.  Nearly all of the RICO20 signatories, including Trenbeth andWallace, attended a large symposium in April 2015 to honor Shukla – see picture at link.

IGES’ webpage says that its corporate objective was to share “the fruits” of its research “with society as a whole”, though, in practice, an equally important objective seems to have been to share the fruits of its research funding with Shukla (and Kinter). The sheer lucrativeness of Shukla’s deal raised some eyebrows in skeptic blogs, but none so far at warmist blogs, not even at Michael Tobis’ aptly named Only In It for the Gold or among Barry Klinger and the RICO20.

The non-profit status of a group that calls for RICO investigations of scientific opponents is also coming into question.

Anthony Watts has more: “Uh, oh. Jagdish Shukla and the #RICO20 has captured the attention of Congress, and FOIA documents are coming out.”

The press release today from the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and chair Lamar Smith…

“Chairman Smith: “IGES appears to be almost fully funded by taxpayer money while simultaneously participating in partisan political activity by requesting a RICO investigation of companies and organizations that disagree with the Obama administration on climate change. In fact, IGES has reportedly received $63 million from taxpayers since 2001, comprising over 98 percent of its total revenue during that time.”In light of the non-profit’s decision to remove the controversial letter from its website, Smith directs IGES to preserve “all e-mail, electronic documents, and data created since January 1, 2009, that can be reasonably anticipated to be subject to a request for production by the Committee.”

RICO means Racketeer Influences and Corrupt Organizations.

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