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Though NASA’s Inspector General has cleared [pdf] NASA administrator Charles Bolden of ethical violations in connection with his communications with the Marathon Oil corporation during discussions about awarding research money to a Marathon competitor, the IG also noted that Bolden’s actions were inappropriate. Key quote:
We concluded that Bolden’s contact with Marathon regarding OMEGA did not violate federal laws or regulations pertaining to conflicts of interest. However, we found that the contact was not consistent with the Ethics Pledge he, as an Administration appointee, had signed, and that it raised concerns about an appearance of a conflict of interest involving the NASA Administrator and a large oil company to which he had financial ties.