NASA IG: Bolden misused NASA resources after leaving agency


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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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11 comments

  • Andrew _W

    If an employee of mine provided services without billing, the fault is the employees, not the person that recieved those services.

  • commodude

    Andrew, in this case the fault is Director Bolden blatantly ignoring Federal law. It’s a bureaucrat directly violating clearly written policy.

    If it was one of the “little people” in the agency they’d be terminated and possibly sent to jail.

  • Andrew _W

    I urge all right thinki my people to ignore federal law when it suits them. But they should take care about breaking federal law.
    Law about use of the time and resources of federal employees apply to those employees. If the claim is that Bolden broke laws that apply to him as a private citizen, quote those laws.

  • Andrew_W: Rather than ask wild questions, why don’t you simply read the IG report. I provide a link. It is very clear about this issue.

  • Andrew_W

    Mr. Zimmerman: “It is very clear about this issue.”

    Yes it is, Bolden broke no laws, the EA was acting contrary to several:
    Fourteen General Principles form the cornerstone of the federal government’s ethical rules, at least five of which
    are relevant to the matters under review:
    (1) Public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the
    Constitution, the laws and ethical principles above private gain.
    (7) Employees shall not use public office for private gain.
    (9) Employees shall protect and conserve Federal property and shall not use it for
    other than authorized activities.
    (10) Employees shall not engage in outside employment or activities, including
    seeking or negotiating for employment, that conflict with official Government
    duties and responsibilities.
    (14) Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that
    they are violating the law or the ethical standards set forth in this part. Whether
    circumstances create an appearance that the law or these standards have been
    violated shall be determined from the perspective of a reasonable person with
    knowledge of the relevant facts.
    See generally, 5 C.F.R. § 2635.101(b). Each Standard of Ethical Conduct is supported by one or
    more federal regulations and is applicable to federal government employees.

    . . . .

    As a former employee, Bolden was not subject to the Standards of Ethical Conduct for
    Employees of the Executive Branch or NASA’s corresponding regulations for actions taken
    following his resignation from government service on January 20, 2017.
    42
    However, his actions—including the amendment of his EA’s performance plan on his last day in office and his
    repeated requests for assistance from the Agency for his private ventures and personal
    activities—led the EA and others to use government time and resources to support his private
    business after his departure. We conclude that Bolden should have exercised better judgment to
    ensure that his requests did not run afoul of the government’s ethical standards. In hindsight,
    Bolden admitted he should have used better judgment.

  • Ken Sands

    Perhaps an investigation should be done to see if Bolden claimed as income the services he was provided by the NASA employee?

  • BSinSC

    How many people get to use their FORMER EMPLOYER’S resources to start and run a new business? This is ridiculous and shows Americans that there are two sets of Laws – one for YOU and one for THEM! Like George Carlin said “it’s a club – and YOU AIN’T IN IT”!! At the very least he should reimburse US for his THEFT OF SERVICES! And FOR SURE, let’s amend the guidelines to make sure any FUTURE democrats think they can use Government Resources in their PRIVATE LIVES! The ex-employee should also face some action – perhaps a temporary suspension of her retirement payments that would be equal to the time she would/should have been suspended for continuing to SERVICE Bolden!

  • John Smith

    Bolden is black, a democrat, and an astronaut (so, part of the talented tenth). Nothing serious will happen to him.

  • john dineen

    I’m just glad Bolden’s gone;NASA can only get better….less time spent on climate change…more time spent on space

  • GWB

    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
    Oh, fer cryin’ out loud. It’s pretty clear to ALL OF THE REST OF US that you can’t do this.

  • David M. Cook

    Clearly, this woman and her boss (not Bolden) should be proscuted for theft or allowing the theft to occur. Both of these NASA employees knew what she was doing and let it happen. If we allow the ”little players“ to walk free we can expect more of these crimes (yes, CRIMES!) to be committed by these leftists.

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