The House Natural Resources Committee plans to ignore a letter from Rep. Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.) that calls for an investigation into a Department of the Interior official connected to the conservative Heartland Institute.
Spokesman Crystal Feldman told the Free Beacon, “The committee has received the letter from Rep. Grijalva. Currently we are focused on addressing rising gas prices, the need for job-creation and the president’s FY 2013 budget proposal, so don’t anticipate the committee’s attention to be diverted to Rep. Grijalva’s request.”
The Heartland Institute has been the subject of controversy since Feb. 15, when the New York Times published an article reporting, “Leaked documents suggest that an organization known for attacking climate science in planning a new push to undermine the teaching of global warming in the public schools, the latest indication that climate change is becoming a part of the nation’s culture wars.”
Grijalva sent a letter dated Feb. 22, 2012, to Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R., Wash.) and ranking member Rep. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) raising questions about the conduct of Dr. Indur M. Goklany, the assistant director of programs, science and technology policy at the Department of the Interior.
Grijalva wrote that Goklany was promised $1,000 per month to write a chapter on “Economics and Policy” for a Heartland-funded book on climate science. Grijalva wrote that he learned of Goklany’s alleged conduct through a letter sent to him by the environmentalist group Greenpeace, which cited the debunked documents.
According to Grijalva, “As the Greenpeace letter points out, employees of federal agencies are specifically warned not to take payment from outside organizations, particularly for ‘teaching, speaking and writing that relates to (their) official duties.’”
Grijalva’s letter to Hastings and Markey asks whether the House Natural Resources Committee will take action concerning Goklany’s conduct: “Please advise me whether the Committee will hold a hearing on these issues through Adam Sarvana in my office at [number redacted]. Thank you both for your attention to this urgent matter.”
Grijalva’s office directed the Free Beacon to a press statement the congressman released on Feb. 22, the day he sent his letter to Hastings and Markey. Sarvana, Grijalva’s communications director, also encouraged the Free Beacon to contact Hastings and Markey for comment: “Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with. The chairman and ranking member haven’t formally responded yet—getting them on the record would move the ball forward for sure.”
The Heartland Institute, Hastings, and Markey did not immediately return calls for comment. Goklany also declined to comment.