According to a new NASA inspector general report released today [pdf], former NASA administrator Charles Bolden improperly used the services of his NASA executive assistant for two years after his resignation, and that misuse included aiding him in building his private consulting firm.
The [inspector general] concluded that the EA [Executive Assistant] inappropriately provided significant administrative assistance to Bolden to include managing his personal and business appointments, making travel arrangements, and coordinating special requests for almost 2 years, from his departure in January 2017 through December 2018. We further found that the EA’s assistance helped facilitate the growth of Bolden’s private consulting business and, as a result, Bolden was able to hire the EA as an employee upon her retirement from NASA in early 2019.
The report is remarkable kind to Bolden, making many attempts to excuse this essentially illegal abuse of government resources for private gain. But then, he is a Democrat who worked for the Democratic Obama administration, and if there is anything we have learned in the past decade, it is that there is an unwritten law in DC that states that no Democrat shall ever be punished for any crimes.
In Bolden’s defense, the report states the following,
Bolden took full responsibility for his actions, offered to provide reimbursement for the services he had received, and recommended that in the future specific guidance be provided to departing senior executives as to what type of administrative support they could expect to receive, if any.
I really wonder if anyone can really assign a number to this work. Moreover, there is no evidence in the report that Bolden has actually reimbursed the agency. Based on past such incidents, I am very doubtful such reimbursement will ever happen. The tactic each time has been to make a loud announcement of contrition, but then when things quiet down to conveniently forget about it.
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