Former NASA Administrators Should Not Do These Things

OIG: A Review Of Allegations Of Unauthorized Activity By An Executive Assistant To A Former NASA Administrator

"In his OIG interview, Bolden initially denied that the EA had provided administrative support to him following his resignation. He stated that the EA could not provide additional support to him while she was a government employee and "I knew it was inappropriate for her to do that." When asked how he knew that, Bolden replied: "Because it's illegal. It's unethical for me to come in and ask a NASA employee ... to do administrative work for somebody who's not in the government." Id. "She can't serve as my executive assistant when I'm not here.... That's wrong." ... When asked if he ever considered instructing the EA to stop providing administrative support to him, Bolden said no and conceded "my judgment was clouded." He said, "I did not think I was asking her to do personal work for me since almost everything I was doing was space related." Bolden, however, took responsibility for creating the problem. He stated, "This was my error. This was my error in judgment."

Keith's note: Bolden used government employee services for several years after he left NASA. Indeed:

"In January 2017, immediately prior to his departure from NASA and in direct response to concerns about the lack of transition planning when the previous Administrator left NASA following the 2008 presidential election, Bolden added a third Critical Element to the EA's Employee Performance Plan. This new element explicitly authorized the EA to continue to provide administrative support to Bolden such as coordinating his appearance at certain speaking engagements and providing contact information to him and others following his resignation as NASA Administrator."

But since Bolden charges $20,000 speaking fees and did a lot of free stuff for NASA after leaving the agency the OIG did some math and decided that these NASA-provided services probably balanced out. Bolden admits this was all wrong but the OIG says that only the Executive Assistant probably broke the law. It does not seem to be fair to me that a subordinate gets stuck with the illegality.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 11, 2020 11:07 AM.

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