NASA, White House

Is Bolden in the doghouse with the White House?

While an investigation by the NASA inspector general cleared administrator Charles Bolden of ethics law violations, he did not get off cleanly: the report concluded that Bolden’s actions were not “consistent with the Ethics Pledge he, as an Administration appointee, had signed”. That assessment was shared by a White House official, as noted in the report:

With regard to the Ethics Pledge, OGC [Office of the General Counsel] lawyers told the OIG [Office of the Inspector General] that the White House Deputy Associate Counsel expressed the view that Bolden should have acted more prudently concerning his contact with Marathon and characterized his actions as a procedural violation of the Pledge. They said the Deputy Associate Counsel recommended that Bolden receive refresher ethics training, which the OGC lawyers said they provided to Bolden on June 1, 2010.

This faux pas, coupled with other events (most notably his now-infamous al-Jazeera interview earlier this summer) has not won Bolden much support from the White House. An unidentified administration official criticized Bolden in an Orlando Sentinel story about the report: “Administrator Bolden continues to be not only a distraction for the administration, but most importantly to the mission of NASA.” The official, the article added, “could not recall another incident in which a similarly high-level leader was so publicly reprimanded.”

Bolden, meanwhile, is headed to Saudi Arabia this weekend to mark the 25th anniversary of the launch of the first Saudi astronaut, a trip that may also have diplomatic overtones. That has already generated some criticism from other quarters that such efforts are also a distraction. “NASA should spend more of their time and resources here working on keeping America first in space, employing America’s top engineers and protecting our national security rather than performing diplomatic outreach to the Middle East,” Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) told the Sentinel.

4 comments to Is Bolden in the doghouse with the White House?

  • That has already generated some criticism from other quarters that such efforts are also a distraction.

    Yes it is a distraction and I’m sure Mr. Bolden knows it.

    And I’m sure he doesn’t care if he gets the boot or not.

    He probably figures he’s taken enough bullets for the Administration.

  • amightywind

    Bolden is actually a tragic figure. He was swept into office because he met the ethnicity requirements and was willing to carry water for Obama. He is not really an administrator. He is neither a strong NASA insider, nor a powerful, credible outsider. But he was given a bad plan, and was egged on by the bad advice of his aids (Garver). He is ill equipped to navigate the NASA bureaucracy and fend off the back biting in congress. Compare him to the savvy Defense Secretary Robert Gates. No comparison. So like every one else in the administration that has failed miserably (like the economic team), Bolden is being thrown under the bus. I am sure he will be relieved to get a new job. I for one will be happy when this group is gone. A GOP congress will prevent Obama from doing worse.

  • Wodun

    Media is global. Obama can’t be angry with Bolden because us rubes back in the states can hear what he says in other countries.

    Bolden is only doing Obama’s bidding and Obama should defend him for it.

  • If he goes, then good riddance!! Charlie Bolden has been a disaster for NASA! He never should’ve gotten the job. All this “Let’s do asteroids instead of the Moon” rhino dung: What the freak were they thinking?! There’s NOTHING worthwhile for our astronauts to be doing on asteroids! Leave all the NEO’s to robots, for now! Unmanned probes will get you all the credible scientific scrutiny you’d ever need on them! For the foreseeable future. The Moon is the place where bases & major surface operations could be mounted, near term. The Moon is the new Antarctica! Let’s begin an Operation Highjump equivalent over there! Project Apollo was the dogsled reaching of Luna. Now, in century 21, NASA can build upon those distant past acheivements. The Orion-Altair missions will teach us tremendous things, about outpost operations on a planetary surface. Boys, let’s get on with it! Admiral Byrd, sir, we are ready to scale Mount Erebus!

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