No Tax Dollars Went To Make This Space Viking Photo, NPR
"The inspector general won't discuss how much all this cost, but [Ved] Chirayath did a quick calculation, totaling up the number of interviews, multiplied by the work hours, multiplied by the salary of the investigator and others involved. "I came to a lower-end budget of around $40,000, and an upper end of around $600,000," he says. That's far more than the cost of a professional photo shoot, even if NASA had paid for it, he says. Grassley says that these sorts of inquiries are not part of a Viking witch hunt, but that asking questions like this are part of his job as a senator."
Letter from Sen. Grassley to Charlie Bolden
"For example, I recently received information that at least four NASA employees, including highly paid SES employees, participated in a so-called "Physics in Vogue" photo-shoot, dressed in Viking garb. The shoot appears to have been conducted on a Friday in December during normal working hours and depicts NASA employees growling, yelling and brandishing replica swords and daggers."
Keith's note: In other words, Sen. Grassley's staff can send goofy letters to NASA and force them to waste taxpayer's money proving that they did not waste any taxpayer's money - because he can.
Since Sen. Grassley's crack staff are clearly rather desperate for things to investigate, maybe they should dig into the cost of this 2012 JSC staff holiday video. There are no Vikings in it (sorry) but I do see Yoda, banana guy, antler girls, neon feathered boa girls, santa's helpers, guitar guy, cat in the hat, MIB guys, weightlifter guy, astronauts, cheerleaders, and Darth Vader. And while there was no "growling, yelling and brandishing replica swords and daggers" there was gratuitous bad lip synching, silly dance moves, and a lot of props - some of which could have caused grave injury if mishandled (a great OSHA angle). Plus, as an added bonus, the video even has an official NASA logo (twice!) and it was filmed while the sun was up in a NASA building.
Just think of all the research Sen. Grassley's staff can do on government time and the goofy questions they can ask Charlie Bolden to make his people research and respond to - on government time. How dare these government employees have a Christmas party. What were they thinking?