U.S. Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), formerly chairman and now the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has asked the current chairman, Fred Upton (R-MI), to recall prominent climate change-denier Dr. Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute in order to determine if Dr. Michaels “misled” the committee when he told it in 2009 that he got only 3% of his funding from industries with an interest in debunking claims of climate change.
Dr. Michaels reluctantly admitted on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS program on CNN that the real proportion of his income from fossil-fuel-based energy sources is “40%.”
In a letter requesting that Chairman Upton ask Dr. Michaels to meet with committee staffers to clarify his disparate statements, Rep. Waxman cites a mention of Dr. Michaels admission on the Politico website, an item which in turn is based upon the climate expert’s statement on Zakaria’s show, made on August 15, 2010.
The Cato Institute itself would not comment on this issue, and Dr. Michaels has not returned a call asking for his reaction to Ranking Member Waxman’s request.
A request to Rep. Upton’s office for a comment on the letter elicited this e-mail response from a GOP committee aide:
“Republicans first put truth-in-testimony requirements in place in 1995 and strengthened those requirements earlier this month (over the objections, it could be noted, of House Democrats). Chairman Upton has been clear about his commitment to transparency in the legislative process, and under his leadership the committee will adhere to both the letter and the spirit of truth-in-testimony requirements and other committee rules and practices.”
There’s been no reply yet to a specific inquiry regarding Rep. Upton’s plans to re-call, or not to re-call, Dr. Michaels to clarify his statements.
Stanford Law Professor Robert Weisberg provided Etopia News with a reference to the pertinent federal legal standards and penalties () regarding false testimony (18 USC Section 1001):
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully -
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.
An inquiry to the U.S. Department of Justice asking if it was pursuing an investigation into this matter had not elicited a response as of the time this article was posted.