Who’s Behind The Campaign to Bring RICO Charges Against ‘Climate Skeptics?’

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Last month, a man by the name of Jagadish Shukla (along with several other scientists) sent a letter to the President and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, demanding that RICO charges – that is, “racketeering, influenced and corrupt organization” charges – be brought against so-called “climate deniers,” as though those who disagree with the theory that global climate change is inherently man made and undeniably catastrophic, were joined together in a conspiracy that amounts to organized crime.

Dr. Shukla is a meteorologist and professor at George Mason University, but the letter itself was posted on the Institute of Global Environment and Society website (it has since been taken down and replaced with a broken link, indicating that it’s posting was an unfortunate mistake – odd since the URL featuring the “mistake” message, was the one listed on a press release touting the letter itself), bringing up the possibility that Shukla’s actions were once either endorsed or commissioned by the IGES, and that Shukla may have benefited financially. This is a problem; the IGES receives millions in taxpayer dollars each year for its research, and such an offensive measure as calling for a RICO investigation is very clearly partisan politics.

From the Free Beacon:

“IGES’s recent decision to remove documents from its website raises concerns that additional information vital to the Committee’s investigation may not be preserved,” Smith wrote in a Thursday letter to Shukla.

Smith asked Shukla to preserve all internal documents and communications that could be relevant to the committee’s investigation, and to ask all current and former employees and contractors to do the same…

Shukla’s letter to Obama and Lynch “raises serious concerns because IGES appears to be almost fully funded by taxpayer money while simultaneously participating in partisan political activity by requesting a RICO investigation of companies and organizations that disagree with the Obama Administration on climate change,” Smith wrote.

Smith’s letter cited prior reporting by the Washington Free Beacon revealing that IGES has received $63 million in government funds since 2001, which comprised 98 percent of its total revenue in that time according to annual tax filings.

This money comes from several sources, including the National Science Foundation (NSE), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NASA. It goes deeper, though, than just a conflict of interest involving a non-profit. Much of that money, too, appears to have eventually ended up funding Dr. Shukla’s research projects and his paycheck.

IGES employs just a few people – Dr. Shukla, his wife and his daughter among them. And according to a report by National Review‘s Ian Tuttle, the Shukla’s seem to do very well, “pocket[ing] $5.6 million in compensation from IGES since 2001” (not counting what their daughter, Sonia earned). And, according to Tuttle, that’s on top of what Dr. Shukla earns as a professor at George Mason, a “double-dipping” scenario that is, to say the least, frowned upon in academia. His partner, another professor at George Mason, appear to also “double dip,” taking funds from George Mason as well as from IGES. According to Climate Watch, the story goes even deeper and involves allegedly shifting grant money, earmarked for IGES to other projects, including an educational charity.

In sending the letter to President Obama demanding transparency among “climate skeptics,” a well-known professor in the global climate movement may have exposed his own questionable handling of finances. Rep. Lamar Alexander has promised to “get to the bottom” of the interrelationship between IGES, Shukla’s work (both public and academic), and how taxpayers might have inadvertently funded some things they didn’t expect to. The results should be very interesting.