WASHINGTON, DC - Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, responded to Penn State's announcement today concerning its investigation into possible research misconduct by Dr. Michael Mann.
Penn State's internal inquiry found further investigation is warranted to determine if Dr. Mann "engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities."
"I want to commend Penn State for recognizing the seriousness of the allegations leveled at Dr. Mann by launching an initial inquiry into whether he committed research misconduct," Senator Inhofe said. "As the University moves to the next phase of its investigation, I believe the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation should also commence an investigation to examine possible violations of federal laws and policies governing taxpayer-funded research.
"The stakes involved here are enormous. The scientific work in question is part of a larger enterprise behind federal climate change policies that will cost American consumers trillions of dollars. So when we learn, as we did last week, that the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report included serious errors, raising questions about the integrity of its work, we need to reassure the American people that their tax dollars are supporting objective scientific research rather than political agendas."
National Science Foundation
Office of Inspector General
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
Dear Ms. Lerner:
This is a follow-up to my letter of December 2, 2009 and concerns today’s announcement by Penn State University that it has concluded its initial inquiry into possible research misconduct by one of the University’s researchers, Dr. Michael Mann. Penn State’s internal inquiry found further investigation is warranted to determine if Dr. Mann "engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities."
While I firmly agree that Penn State’s investigation is warranted and must commence without delay, there are federal laws and policies implicated in this matter, including your “Research Misconduct” regulations, Title 45 CFR Part 689, that go beyond the scope of Penn State’s inquiry. Therefore, in order to have a full and complete accounting of this matter, I request that you now begin a formal investigation of the allegations against Dr. Mann.
Among other laws and regulations, I ask that you investigate compliance with, or violations of, OMB administrative procedures, 2 CFR Part 215 (OMB Circular A-110), in particular 2 CFR §215.36; Freedom of Information Act 5 U.S.C. §552 (NSF Regulation, 45 CFR Part 612); NSF guidelines implementing OMB information quality guidelines (515 Guidelines); Federal False Claims Act, 18 U.S.C. §287, and 31 U.S.C. §§3729-33; and Federal False Statements Act, 18 U.S.C §1001.Finally, given that Dr. Mann was at the University of Virginia from 1999 until 2005, I also request that you inquire whether his activities at the University of Virginia are implicated in this matter and within your jurisdiction.