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Smith Investigates Use of Public Funds by Non-Profit that Targeted Climate Skeptics

Oct 19, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to the attorney representing Dr. Jagadish Shukla, the founder of several non-profit entities funded by federal grants. One such non-profit, the Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES), reportedly received $63 million in taxpayer funds through federal grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA. Chairman Smith’s letter requests documents and communications related to potential misuse of these public funds.

Chairman Smith: “It appears that grants provided to IGES are not serving the intended purpose of providing services to the public.  Instead, taxpayers appear to be picking up the tab for excessive salaries, nepotism, questionable money transfers, and political activity while receiving little or no benefit.  The public expects non-profit organizations that receive taxpayer money to exercise responsible stewardship of their tax dollars.”

In September, IGES circulated a letter to senior White House officials requesting a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) investigation of organizations who question the risks of climate change. The letter was posted to the IGES website and later removed.  This letter raises concerns because federal laws and regulations prohibit funds appropriated by Congress to be used to influence public policy. Public records and media reports have raised additional concerns regarding the fiscal management of the federal grant funding received by Dr. Shukla.

According to IGES’s Form 990, in 2014 alone Dr. Shukla worked an average of 28 hours per week and received $292, 688 in compensation, representing a salary of more than $200 per hour. In addition, Shukla was paid $39, 348 for “Retirement and other deferred compensation.” As a “business manager” for IGES, Dr. Shukla’s wife made $146,045 in compensation and an additional $18,861 in retirement compensation.

It also appears IGES shifted $100,000 in grant money to an education charity that transferred the money to a school in India that was apparently founded by Dr. Shukla. Chairman Smith’s letter requests information relating to this transfer of funds, including all e-mails between Dr. Shukla and the manager of the college in India, Shiriram Shukla. The letter also requests all documents and communications relating to any grant, contract, or other financial award made to Dr. Shukla.

The full letter can be found here.

114th Congress