New Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) replies have exposed more misdeeds by Professor Edward Wegman and Yasmin Said at George Mason University (GMU), closely involved with the Kochs, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and many oth...
New Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) replies have exposed more misdeeds by Professor Edward Wegman and Yasmin Said at George Mason University (GMU), closely involved with the Kochs, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and many others known for attacks on climate science. This post reviews background and attaches FOIA files that unearthed evidence for:
-pervasive mis-use of Federal funds for inappropriate work,
-plagiarism or falsification in documents used to seek grants or credit,
-GMU violations of Federal rules for reporting misconduct, atop an already-absurd procedure.
Readers unfamiliar with the history might first read the background below the fold and then return here for a summary of the posts to follow in this series:
FOIA Facts 2 - Wegman and Said used existing grants from the Army Research Office and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for efforts on the 2006 Wegman Report, showing "pro bono" claims made to Congress as false. That was not the only funds mis-use. Together, they claimed 48 inappropriate papers or talks, easily consuming more than half their effort. Grants of $492K produced attacks on climate science and much foreign travel, but almost nothing in peer-reviewed research journals.
FOIA Facts 3 - More plagiarism and falsification are documented in 13 total works by Wegman and/or Said, including a few new ones and at least 7 claimed for grant credit. Wegman also wrote a half-million-dollar grant proposal, but evidence shows that roughly half the text was copy-paste-edit plagiarism. Luckily for Wegman, it was rejected.
FOIA Facts 4 exposes worse misbehavior at GMU, which badly mishandled simple plagiarism complaints, including one on a Federally-funded paper. That was retracted in May 2011 and finally ruled as misconduct in February 2012. Federal rules required multiple notifications to several agencies, but FOIA requests found no trace of them. GMU seemed to ignore Federal rules, but perhaps other funding and influence are more important.
In any case, Wegman was appointed in Fall 2012 to a 3-year term on the GMU College of Science Promotion and Tenure Committee.
Background - Attack on the Hockey Stick, Wegman Report As Centerpiece
From 2001 onward, the "hockey stick" temperature graph of Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcom Hughes was subject to a manufactured controversy,*** not substantially within science, but from outside. Key players 2001-2005 included Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Fred Singer, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, especially Myron Ebell, and the George C. Marshall Institute, chaired by Will Happer, whose CEO William O'Keefe was a 25-year veteran of the American Petroleum Institute (API) whose 1998 strategy was executed for years by participants.
Starting with 2001 contact by Singer, Canadians Ross McKitrick and later Stephen McIntyre became closely-involved with these people. They were brought to Washington, promoted widely, sponsored for talks on Capitol Hill and introduced to Inhofe, who publicized their claims. On May 11, 2005 they gave a talk in Washington, later annotated. Its key thrusts were critiques on hockey stick statistics and the quality of peer review in climate science.
In September 2005, Wegman was recruited for Reps. Joe Barton(R-TX) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY) to try to ratify McIntyre and McKitrick's critiques from that talk, which became the "blueprint" for the "Wegman Report".***
The Report was announced July 2006 in the Wall Street Journal. A strong PR campaign included several Congressional hearings, the first with just a few days' notice to scientists being criticized, resembling a well-known witch-hunt.
Although ignored or refuted by real scientists, the Report became a centerpiece of climate anti-science for years, treated as totally authoritative by some newspapers and many books, such as Essex and McKitrick (2008, 2nd Edition), Rapp (2008), Solomon (2008), Hayden (2008), Horner (2008), Alexander (2009), Booker