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NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in Hot Water Over Ethics Issues? September 26, 2010

Posted by Nick Azer in : Charles Bolden, ethics, NASA, National Space Policy, Obama , trackback

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is starting to find himself in hot water with the Obama administration after a series of ethics issues, it seems:

“Administrator Bolden continues to be not only a distraction for the administration, but most importantly to the mission of NASA.” -Unnamed Obama administration official, “NASA Administrator draws an ethics reprimand”, The Orlando Sentinel

“The president takes the ethics pledge and the commitments made by appointees who sign it seriously, and any breach of the pledge is very disappointing.” -White House Spokesman Nick Shapiro, “NASA Administrator draws an ethics reprimand”, The Orlando Sentinel

It’s generally difficult to be reprimanded much more than that. Distraction to the mission of NASA?

As Space Politics notes, Bolden was cleared of legal violations in regards to his communication with former employer Marathon Oil, but that his actions were found to not be consistent with the administration ethics pledge (referenced by spokesman Nick Shapiro above).

Comments by Bolden earlier this summer about outreach to Muslim countries being one of his “foremost” tasks and general controversy over the new direction of NASA have not helped his cause at an important juncture for Obama’s vision for space.

With a busy year for Obama, this could well mean there’ll be a change to a less ‘distracting’ administrator in the near future, perhaps once the House and Senate compromise bills are settled one way or another. Obama seems to dictate space policy fairly closely regardless (his 2008 campaign space plan having a lot in common with the later findings of the Augustine committee), so a change in administrator may not make much of a difference in the momentum of NASA, and potentially happen that much sooner because of it.

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