Bush Scandals List

349. Conflicts of interest in NASA’s moon project

On April 28, 2008, the normally tame NASA Inspector General (see entry 149) issued a report on the Standing Review Board for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Project which is building the craft to be used in a return to the moon. It found that 6 of the 19 board members, including the Chair, were employees of companies working on the project and that 4 of them held stock in those companies. The Chair Ed Gibson and Neil Hutchison (a former NASA flight director) are both vice presidents at SAIC (see entry 217). Another board member Jack Garman who had a long career at NASA is also technical director for NASA services at Lockheed Martin the project’s prime contractor. The report recommended suspending the six until the legality of their membership was determined. The report strongly suggested that it wasn’t.

Associate NASA Administrator Scott Pace responded that it wasn’t necessary to suspend these members because he was in the process of rewriting the rules to make it OK for them to stay. The IG found this to be “nonresponsive”. The report also noted that up to the present time the “independent” status of the board members was based solely on self-assessments. This is yet another example of the revolving door and the blurring between business and government until it is no longer clear which is which.

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