Griffin Email on "Endorsement Issue".

NASA denies chief made formal DeLay endorsement, Houston Chronicle

"The space program has had no better friend in its entire existence than Tom DeLay," Griffin said Friday of DeLay's legislative support of the agency. "He's still with us and we need to keep him there."

Editor's Update: Mike Griffin may not have meant to endorse Delay for re-election - but that is exactly what he apparently did.

Editor's note: The following email exchange occurred between Mike Griffin and a NASA Watch reader regarding the impression many have that Griffin endorsed Rep. Tom DeLay last week based upon a newspaper article.

Griffin says: "The Hatch Act applies to the career civil service cadre. I am a political appointee, not a career civil servant. If I chose to "endorse" a candidate from my party -- and I have not -- there would be no violation of the Hatch Act." Curiously, Griffin has not sought to correct his earlier public remarks which suggest that doing this might be a violation of the Hatch Act - comments made in relation to Sean O'Keefe's activities. The full email exchange follows (with the reader's name withheld):


From: "Griffin, Michael D. (HQ-AA000)"
Date: March 28, 2006 7:45:55 PM CST
To: [Name withheld]
Cc: "Morrell, Paul (HQ-AA000)", "Dale, Shana (HQ-AB000)", "Chase, Brian E. (HQ-NC000)", "Davis, Joseph H. (HQ-AA000)", "Mould, David R. (HQ-NA000)"
Subject: Re: concerns

[Name withheld]-

Thanks for your note. Sorry you're upset.

First, the quote you attributed to me is in fact incorrect. The event was recorded.Though I was very complimentary to Mr. DeLay following his very generous introduction of me as the keynote speaker, and while I commented upon the fact that he has been a great friend to the space program and NASA, I did not issue the quote you cite.

Second, even if I did, it would be okay. The Hatch Act applies to the career civil service cadre. I am a political appointee, not a career civil servant. If I chose to "endorse" a candidate from my party -- and I have not -- there would be no violation of the Hatch Act.

Finally, Mr. DeLay cannot be considered "corrupt" until and unless the allegations you cite have been decided against him in court. Until and unless such an event occurs, he is a sitting Member of Congress, fully as deserving of my respectful treatment as any other Member.

I regret that you are disappointed.

Mike

-----Original Message-----

From: [Name withheld]
To: Griffin, Michael D. (HQ-AA000)
Sent: Tue Mar 28 18:45:19 2006
Subject: concerns

Dear Michael Griffin,

I am concerned about your endorsement of Tom Delay as reported in this article of the Galveston Daily News:

http://news.galvestondailynews.com/story.lasso?ewcd=ae585de471dad9bf.

When you say that "every effort should be made to re-elect him to office" that sounds to me like a civil servant making an endorsement of a political candidate and a violation of the Hatch Act. I am a huge fan and supporter of the space program. It is hard for me to imagine why it is helpful to tie a corrupt politician to NASA, which needs more federal support, not less, especially when you just had to cut your science budget to shreds.

I am a tax payer and pay your salary and you do not speak for me when you publicly encourage people to re-elect someone who has become less effective since he has been indicted on felony charges. If another NASA employee had made this same speech, would he or she have beenfired?

[Name withheld]

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 30, 2006 9:00 AM.

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