Government-Funded Scientist Wants to Use RICO Laws to Investigate Climate Change Skeptics

A professor who recently called on the federal government to use racketeering laws to  investigate and prosecute global warming skeptics is getting fabulously rich on the taxpayer's dime, public records show.

George Mason University meteorologist Jagadish Shukla is the lead signatory to a letter sent to the president and attorney general asking them to use RICO laws to prosecute “corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change.”

In their Sept. 1 letter, Shukla and 19 other scientists endorsed Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation.  In his May Washington Post column, Whitehouse had accused fossil fuel companies of funding the "coordinated tactics of the climate denial network," and said “civil discovery would reveal whether and to what extent the fossil fuel industry has” committed fraud by doing so.

Shukla and his wife Anne profit handsomely from a nonprofit they operate called the Institute of Global Environment and Society.  The 501(c)(3) nonprofit was founded in 1991, and is funded almost entirely by taxpayers.

Via the Washington Free Beacon:

Since 2001, the earliest year for which its annual tax filings are available, the IGES has received more than$63 million in government funds, comprising more than 98 percent of its total revenue in that time.

Its federal support has come primarily through the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, according to its website.

Jagadish and Anne Shukla have together received $5.6 million in compensation from IGES since 2001, tax filings show. According to the group’s website, their daughter Sonia is also on staff.

IGES did not respond to a request for comment.

With Shukla’s government salary from GMU, a public university, “that totals to $750k/yr to the leader of the RICO20 from public money for climate work & going after skeptics.

Roger Pielke, Jr. a professor in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado, drew attention to the climate $$$ scam in a series of tweets on Sunday and Monday.

Pielke, who is also a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), has been critical of congressional efforts to use political and legal measures against researchers and academic organizations that get funding from fossil fuel companies, according to WFB.

When it was revealed that a handful of oil companies had funded research conducted by Dr. Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Democrats in Congress attempted to root out and discredit research funded by oil companies. The Heartland Institute stood by Soon’s research,

...but members of Congress, led by Whitehouse and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.), began what critics called a “witch hunt” to root out academic research supposedly tainted by fossil fuel funding.

Pielke, whose research has cast doubt on the link between climate change and extreme weather, was one of the scientists probed in that effort.

Jim Lakely, a spokesman for the conservative Heartland Institute, reacted with scorn for Shukla's highly lucrative climate-research arrangement.

“It appears that Shukla enriching his family with tax dollars is not enough, he wants more tax dollars to be dedicated to prosecuting those who have committed the crime of closely examining his government-funded research and disagreeing with his alarmist conclusions."

“That takes a special brand of chutzpah,” Lakely said in an email.