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Less Than Full Disclosure at CASIS (Update)

By Keith Cowing
November 3, 2015
Filed under

SLS/Orion Gets a Lobbying Organization in Washington (Update), earlier post
Keith’s 3 Nov 12:19 am note: Have a look at Mary Lynne Dittmar’s LinkedIn page (screengrab). It clearly says that she is a CASIS consultant “January 2015 – Present”. She openly advertises this LinkedIn link on her Twitter profile (screengrab). Apparently the information on her LinkedIn page is inaccurate. Was she an “employee” of CASIS? No, she was a “consultant” – my error – and I am sorry for that mistake. But she was (and based on her email below, still is) paid by CASIS to perform work. That’s the point. She clearly updated her LinkedIn page to include her new job – but left the CASIS consulting description as it was i.e. ongoing. I am not sure why I should apologize for assuming that this information was anything other than accurate. She sent this email (below) which I am posting in its entirety. I asked her via Twitter how she could do all these things and she has responded.
Keith’s 3 Nov 8:20 am 3:30 11:30 pm update: Dittmar’s LinkedIn page still says that she is currently a CASIS consultant.
Keith’s 4 Nov 7:30 pm update:: It s still there.
As for the CASIS “contractor”issue, CASIS gets 99.96% of their funding from NASA and there is a contract in place whereby those funds are provided. As for the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration and lobbying the press release announcing its creation overtly stated that it intends to pursue 501(c)(6) status from the IRS. 501(c)(6) organizations are permitted to do unlimited lobbying – so long as that is not the primary purpose of the organization. Otherwise, you’d expect it to seek 501(c)(3) status. As for “internal documentation” it is “internal” – so how does someone on the outside know what it says?
Dittmar’s email (below):

“Fact Check: The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration is not a lobbying group. There is extensive internal documentation of this fact.
Fact Check: I am not a CASIS employee. I am a consultant. I announced my resignation in advance of taking the new job. In consultation with CASIS I have recused myself from any duties that might appear to place me in conflict while I wrap up my work there.
Fact Check: CASIS is not a NASA Contractor.
Fact Check: The NAS has rules for recusal and OCI. I follow them.
Fact Check: I have engaged in complete disclosure with all parties.
I have an impeccable reputation built over 25 years of hard work on behalf of this community and I will not allow you to tarnish it through misleading, inaccurate, incomplete information and innuendo. I demand an immediate and complete retraction, a removal of your latest post and tweets and and a public apology on your site and on Twitter.
If you do not comply I will pursue legal remedies to the fullest extent possible.
I will not be in further contact.
Mary Lynne Dittmar”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.