NOAA/NWS under fire – 'misappropriated $43 million dollars'

The logo of the United States National Weather...

The logo of the United States National Weather Service. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Report: National Weather Service misappropriated $43 million

By Isolde Raftery,

Jack Hayes, the director of the National Weather Service, stepped down Friday in response to an investigation that top officials at the weather service had misappropriated $43.8 million by giving bonuses and extensions to contractors without proper justification.

The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Commerce, which oversees NOAA, released the report on May 18, detailing an audit of nine contracts that include incentive pay for good work. The contracts have a maximum potential value of $1.6 billion.

The investigators said there may be other contracts that provide additional awards from 2008, 2009 and 2010 but that NOAA was unable to “provide a complete and reliable list when requested by the Office of Inspector General.”

Sen. Olympia Snowe, the ranking member of Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard subcommittee, released a statement Friday, the same day Hayes that stepped down and a week after the report had been released.

Read the full report

Full story at h/t to Ryan Maue


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They must have thought they had a free hand as they continued to support AGW.


Where is the audit of GISS?


From the article: “Snowe states that the investigation, which took place last May and this February, arose from anonymous complaints about the misappropriation of money in 2010 and 2011…
WTF? The investigation too place last May? About money pissed away in 2010? Looks like they weren’t in any hell of a rush to lock the barn after the horse was stolen. What did they do between last May and today, conduct a witch hunt to find the anonymous complainer? I’d guess so.
“…Snowe stated there is no evidence that anyone profited from these transactions.”
What a stupid statement! The money wasn’t put into a mattress, was it? Somebody did profit from these transactions, and quite handsomely, too.


Wow, this is sad 🙁

The National Weather Service has developed an excellent system for forecasting the weather, from it’s computer models to the regional interaction by skilled Meteorologists with the computer products to produce a very accurate point forecasts which it distributes via the internet. It has developed excellent satellite and radar systems and a cutting edge system to produce and distribute weather warnings, advisories, etc. It is important that we support and encourage the people behind these systems and those who keep them rolling day and night, seven days a week, year after year.
It seems all buraucracies eventually corrupt and top overload until they get out of control. And, there is no doubt the NWS has been strictly assigned an activitist role in proliferating the “official” government carbon dioxide causes catastrophic climate change position. We must work to clean up the buraucrascy and attempt to hault the climate change promotional campaign without doing any harm to the current meteorological operations and the fine team of professional forecasters.


Probably the fall guy, but an interesting bio.
Dr. Hayes returned to the NWS in 2007 after serving as the director of the World Weather Watch Department at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations located in Geneva, Switzerland. In that position, he was responsible for global weather observing, weather data exchange telecommunications, and weather data processing and forecasting systems.
Before joining the WMO, Dr. Hayes served in several senior executive positions at NOAA. As the Deputy Assistant Administrator for NOAA Research, he was responsible for the management of research programs. As Deputy Assistant Administrator of the National Ocean Service (NOS), he was the chief operating officer dealing with a multitude of ocean and coastal challenges, including the NOS response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in August 2005.

Out of a $4 trillion budget? Yawn…

Out of a $4 trillion budget of waste? This is a distraction.


I once did some work for someone who was subsequently investigated and found to be a crook. I didn’t spot it at the time, but I did think he was remarkably generous with other people’s money. If you have profitable peccadilloes of your own that need to be kept quiet, one way to try and achieve that is by generosity to people who might otherwise feel inclined to report them. Now the payouts have stopped, it will be interesting to see what emerges.


I know it’s almost required that SOMEone say it, but:
Apparently they’re using the same metrics of accuracy for their accounting that they use for their AGW agenda…


May 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm
Out of a $4 trillion budget of waste? This is a distraction.
Worse, its a political witch hunt. The amount of money and the supposed misuse of it is pretty weak-tea. I suspect that this is all part of bringing the organization in line with the agenda and to serve as a warning to others.
Never take anything like this, reported in the new, at face value.


Going through the report it seems this is mostly a bit of laziness and failure to document contractor award fees. Not a good thing, but not some conspiracy. There is some indication that NWS was acting a bit too cozy with contractors in providing award fees. Overall in large government contracting, award fees of less than 90% of the possible pool are fairly uncommon. Report seems to be saying the process and documentation was weak more than the fees were wrong, though there was an example of setting the success criteria weaker than FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) requires.

Graeme No.3

Mark says:
The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.
corio37 says:
Yes, indeed. Any proper investigation will turn up some nasty surprises.

Ben D.

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
Luke 16, 8
For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are
the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves,
so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

Oh, dear!
That’s going to leave a bruise, at the very least…

F. Ross

@Mark @DesertYote
$43 million is NOT chump change.
Find and fix enough problems like this and we might have a government that uses tax revemues wisely.

The Met office is the same in the UK – there was a public outcry after its senior managers got bonuses and the head a knighthood. Both because the Met is an ideologically-motivated body which now exists merely to forward propaganda about the origins of climate change, and because it’s rubbish at forecasting the weather!

Doesn’t surprise us this gov’t has turned out to be as corrupted as china and russia. Its not even worth voting anymore. now with florida disqualifing voters

Stephen Richards

Mark says:
May 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm
Out of a $4 trillion budget of waste? This is a distraction
First, John Coleman is spot on. Esondly, $1.6 billion is several times all the lottery wins each week. It’s enough to pay an army of teachers, a gaggle of nurses and a bunch of policeman. It is not trivial.
Yes, they need to solve the other over-spend (daily costs) and reduce the size of both ALL the weather and climate agencies but it won’t happen. Obama will be returned to the White House this year and the flood gates of expenditure will open.

Financially, this is a bit of a non-story in my book.
Government department revealed as being wasteful , inefficient and not very fiscally responsible.
What else does one expect these days?
Unlikely to be confined to the NOAA/NWS.
I suspect politics of some sort is the driver here.


Having worked in a few public sector organisations, my first observation is that the reflex response is that this is just a minor anomaly which has been fixed, nothing to see here.
Sometimes that is true. But, very often, it is the tip of an iceberg which reflects an organisational culture of sloppiness or worse with public money.
Given the size of the public sector deficit, surely coming down on impropriety and sloppiness like a ton of bricks is a no-brainer for any government that is serious about balancing the budget. $43M here, $500M there (Solyandra) – it is pretty clear that these people are not spending their own (borrowed) money.


My computer model predicts the heat is on. Finally.


jorgekafkazar says:May 27, 2012 at 9:36 pm
Thank you, your comment has echoed across to Australia.
The impact of such $ must surely be far and wide in promoting a set cause within a network.
Report seems to be saying the process and documentation was weak more than the fees were wrong, though there was an example of setting the success criteria weaker than FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) requires.
Well tls@ 11.16pm: Following a different (or no) process and the lack of rigorous reporting does NOT provide others with the basis for comparison.
A weakened position to argue or publish their observations is shaped. Shoddy work continues while good science and process has to catch up. While $ are, in many cases, distributed and needlessly spent.
Now, to read the report.

Mark says:
May 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm
Out of a $4 trillion budget of waste? This is a distraction.

$43 million here, $43 million there — pretty soon we’re talking some real money…


I’d say this is a bad development. The NWS is the LEAST warmist part of NOAA. It consists of real meteorologists who have to observe real weather conditions, and who bear the burden of saving real lives with their real warnings. Because they’re tied to reality, they don’t use warmist insanity in making their forecasts, and they don’t spend any time propagandizing for the Carbon Cult.
This smells to me like a punishment of heresy, an attempt by the Carbonists to assume stronger control over the pragmatic and truthful branch.


Ben D.,
Bingo! Some call it networking.


in australia the Met office need some bonuses to forecast todays weather because they don,t know what the weather was yesterday

Claude Harvey

Chump change? As a wily old politician once said, “A million here, a million there and pretty soon, you got yourself some serious money.” The government administration mentality involved in this one is the same mentality responsible for $ trillions of other people’s money down a rat-hole.

In the grand scheme of things,$43 million is a rounding error. It does, however, represent about 4% of the NWS budget. The bureaucrats seem to be a bit careless with other peoples’ money. Just how much if the NOAA/NWS function is best done by the government or could be better done by private companies?


@ Mark,
The problem is not that this is chump change, but that this is the way gov’t operates and people get used to it and think it is ok. If there were investigations every time this happened. you could make a dent in the 4 trillion. Investigations cost money too though so probably best to only use the gov’t where absolutely necessary.

Tom in Florida

Mark says:
May 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm
“Out of a $4 trillion budget of waste? This is a distraction.”
No, it is not the amount but the attitude that is the problem. The culture that an agency head can spend away because it’s “government money” needs to be put to an end. Government agencies have forgotten where the money comes from. The government has no money of it’s own, it always takes it from we the people. Unfortunately, the idea that it IS government money is so deeply ingrained in these people that they will never change. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” That time draws near.

“NOAA law enforcementwas running essentially unsupervised for years, inflicting huge fines on fishermen for small infractions and putting the collected monies in a slush fund used for lavish trips and booze-cruise luxury boats.”

Mike Wryley

Only chump change if none of that money found it’s way back into someone’s campaign

Paul Coppin

The NWS is a service agency that offers the very best freely accessible weather data, tools and technology on the planet, bar none. The only thing they can’t do is fix the weather they report. It’s unfortunate that some contracts may have been “loosely” written and implemented, and there will be hell to pay and the requisite gnashing of teeth, but the NWS is one of the best bang for buck operations the US has. Try working with the weather forecasting systems of most other countries and you’ll quickly find out they’re not even in the same league as the NWS, something folks around the Great Lakes need to be extremely grateful for.


What, I find most disturbing about this is the general attitude of acceptance that “chump change” squandering and incompetent management is insignificant, not important, and to be expected.


What I find most disturbing about this is the general attitude of acceptance that “chump change” squandering and incompetent management is insignificant, not important, and to be expected.

Gail Combs

F. Ross says: @ May 28, 2012 at 12:34 am
$43 million is NOT chump change.
Find and fix enough problems like this and we might have a government that uses tax revemues wisely.
Sounds like what Preident Coolidge did.

Lessons For Obama From Silent Cal
…if Obama is serious about living within our means, he would do well to study President Calvin Coolidge–the last Republican president to pay down the debt while simultaneously growing the economy. There’s never been a better time than now for a return to the Coolidge perspective. Often wrongly dismissed as a “do-nothing” executive by New Deal activists, Coolidge showed what true conservatism could produce. He brought Washington’s fiscal house into order. He balanced budgets, cut spending, slashed taxes, and helped expand the economy to produce prosperity. In other words, exactly what we need today…..

Unfortunately this type of scrutiny often gets shut down or swept under the rug.
Were are all pretty familair with this one:
How About the Record of DOE Capital? A abysmal record of defrauding investors and rewarding cronies
The USDA is also very corrupt and is an excellent example of how corruption is treated.
More Civil Rights Trouble at USDA: GAO Investigators Kicked Out of Offices
The following cover-up started in 1996 when the USDA/FDA tossed out the traditional hands on inspection of food and went to the risk-based international HACCP system run by the corporations. The “cover-up” starts with Clinton goes through Bush and ends up with the Obama Admin. making HACCP apply to the whole food chain, the goal of the ag cartel in the World Trade Organization.
USDA Weak in Enforcing Slaughterhouse Rules: GAO
Stanley Painter, Chairman of the National Food Inspection Unions, stated in his testimony at the congressional hearing on the Enforcement Slaughterhouse Rules:

“..when we see violations of FSIS regulations and we are instructed not to write non-compliance reports… Sometimes even if we write non-compliance reports, some of the larger companies use their political muscle to get those overturned….Some of my members have been intimidated by agency management in the past when they came forward and tried to enforce agency regulations and policies. I will give you a personal example:
In December 2004, I began to receive reports that the new SRM regulations were not being uniformly enforced. I wrote a letter to the Assistant FSIS Administrator for Field Operations at the time conveying to him what I had heard…I was paid a visit at my home in Alabama by an FSIS official dispatched from the Atlanta regional office to convince me to drop the issue. I told him that I would not. Then, the agency summoned me to come here to Washington, DC where agency officials subjected me to several hours of interrogation including wanting me to identify which of my members were blowing the whistle on the SRM removal violations. I refused to do so….I was then placed on disciplinary investigation status. The agency even contacted the USDA Office of Inspector General to explore criminal charges being filed against me…
Both my union AFGE and the consumer group Public Citizen filed separate Freedom of Information Act requests in December 2004 for any non-compliance records in the FSIS data base that would support my allegations. It was not until August 2005 that over 1000 non-compliance reports – weighing some 16 pounds — were turned over to both AFGE and Public Citizen that proved that what my members were telling me was correct – that some beef slaughter facilities were not complying with the SRM removal regulations… on the same day those records were released, I received written notification from the agency that they were dropping their disciplinary investigation – eight months after their “investigation” began… [SRM removal regulations concern brain and spine removal to prevent BSE]

The USDA kiss-off:

Senate Hearings
….Question. Is USDA’s investigation of union president Stan Painter retaliatory?
Answer. [see pg 73 for song and dance] … Their observations also concluded that the chairman’s allegations were unsubstantiated.
Question. Why did FSIS pressure Mr. Painter to name his sources, instead of re-
viewing its database of non-compliance reports for the information it needed?
Answer. FSIS took these allegations seriously and sought specifics so the Agency
could follow-up appropriately. To date, nothing communicated to FSIS through
interviews or data analysis, supports the chairman’s charge that BSE regulations
are not being effectively carried out or enforced by FSIS inspection personnel.

GEE, this public hearing in which the USDA dis-invited Stan Painter and his Inspectors seems to show there WAS a problem swept under the rug.


….the Agency invited Stan Painter but unfortunately they didn’t give him his authorization code. So he’s not here. So we have no inspectors here….
There are about 5,000 consumer complaints in the system… And each of those complaints is referable to a particular establishment… [lots of technical song and dance as to why they ignore complaints] … Now there is a reason we do not do testing in those plants. It is not a gap. It is not a gap. Consumer complaints is a small part…. It is not one-sixth of the whole spoke. It’s not going to carry one-sixth of the weight. It’s not that big of a deal….

After 94 recalls of USDA inspected product in just over a year the once trusted USDA Union Meat Inspection process has proven not to be a safety net for business owners, but a historical process required by federal law that is riddled with flawed procedures.
Ninety-four meat recalls just this year and the government is cracking down on the little guy?

And then the rest of the story: SHIELDING THE GIANT: USDA’s “Don’t Look, Don’t Know” Policy for Beef Inspection – investigative report

The best way to combat corruption is to SHUT DOWN these useless bureaucracies. Believe me, the nation would function just fine, and even better, if there were no NOAA at all.
I realize many of you are addicted to other people’s money, especially the funds extracted at the point of a gun. You feel entitled to other people’s money because you are so special and the rest of us are not.
But the truth is you are just a thief. It would be better for all of us, including you, if you left other people’s money alone.
Unfortunately, Calamity Jane and all the other professional crooks are not going to heed my advice but instead are going to continue their thieving ways. Thievery is their reason for living. They can’t get enough of it. They will steal us blind if we don’t put a stop to it.

Gail Combs

Mike Dubrasich says:
May 28, 2012 at 7:26 am
The best way to combat corruption is to SHUT DOWN these useless bureaucracies. Believe me, the nation would function just fine, and even better, if there were no NOAA at all….
I agree. Most people do not realise that not only do bureaucracies take away our money they also take away our rights to a trial and the concept of “presumed innocent until proven guilty”. A bureaucracy can deny a license to do business for no reason, can fine you for no reason can change interpertations of the regs for no reason and WORSE of all there is no way to remove the bad apples and petty hitlers short of dynamite.
There is NO checks and balance where bureaucracies are involved.
Animal Rights Activism Fuels USDA Rabbit Chase Dollarhite is facing a 3.9 million dollar fine for making a profit of $200/year on selling bunnies. The USDA decided to make an “example of him” and the person in the USDA is an Animal Rights Activist. The regs changed and Dollarhite was not aware of it nor was he in anyway notified.


“Out of a $4 trillion budget? Yawn…”
That’s interesting. Why are you using the budget of the entire US government to react to a problem in just one department?
The real issue is $43 million out of a $5 billion budget. Which means that this one problem accounted for almost one percent of their total funding. This also assumes that it’s the only fraud and abuse they had (which is certainly not likely).
So you were off by a factor of 800 or so in your little snark…

Frank K.

Roguewave says:
May 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm
Where is the audit of GISS?

Yes, GISS was handing out raises and bonuses while the rest of the economy was tanking back in 2009. In addition, they were fattening themselves on stimulus money for projects of dubious worth. In the end, I’ve determined that NASA doesn’t really care what GISS does, and I’ll leave it others to decide if they are providing our economy with any “products” that are of any value at all…Please let us know if you find anything…
By the way, here is where you can find out what federal employees (including our favorite climate heroes) are making these days (not including generous government benefits). Remember these salaries when they start telling us we have to “sacrifice” in the name of the climate…
Federal Employee Search, 2011

Power Grab

I agree with
polistra says:
May 28, 2012 at 3:17 am
It’s got to be an effort to punish and/or eliminate the people in the best position to dispute the myth of AGW.

Pamela Gray

Gone are the days when weather forecasts were done to help growers and producers get their jobs done. These days, public accessable weather services seem geared towards people who can’t make up their minds whether or not to take an umbrella to the office.
A case in point. If the NWS actually focused their attention on private sector job builders, why would the following non-NWS seasonal outlook product be necessary?

Joseph Bastardi

Small beans compared to their boss in the WH


As someone who lived through a leftist orchestrated witch hunt of the defense/aerospace industry during the late 80’s, I am very suspicious of everything about this story. From at least 60’s, the dems, despite periodic republican administration, still control almost all the apparatus of government. They write the rules and define the metrics. Everything they do is to support there anti-freedom agenda. They are the masters of unequal enforcement and relative definitions. BTW. As an aside, when a republican takes office, the first thing they need to do is fire everyone, despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth of the press. After all it is what the demarcates do to much media celebration.
Just because a politically motivated audit finds X does not mean that X is true.
I saw this first hand. I was accused of illegally having test fixturing on my bench (that I was constructing!!!) because my documentation did not conform to a standard that was published that morning. The auditor was literally screaming at me! The who point was to cause as much fear and disruption as possible. Coincidentally at the very same time, someone was feeding stories to the paper with bogus claims of environmental damage being caused by the facility I worked at. This contamination story was (last time I checked a few years ago) one of only three or four facts listed for my former company on wiki, even though it is a very obscure story concerning a very small facility of a corporation with thousands of facilities. And the wiki gatekeepers were guarding this narrative jealously as I found out when I tried to correct the misrepresentation. The response I got was within a minute of my changes. (Go WIKI) It was pretty obvious that my organization was being attacked by lefties. Other republican supporting, conservative organization across the industry where experiencing the very same thing, while democrat supporting lefty organizations, who got caught selling secrets to our enemies, where left alone.
It is easy for corrupt auditors to find wrong doing in ANY organization, no matter how well run. Lefties always use these type of stories to punish because most people fall for it no matter what their political beliefs are. This is a politically motivated attack on an organization that does not support the agenda properly.

Gail Combs

DesertYote says:
May 28, 2012 at 10:31 am
As someone who lived through a leftist orchestrated witch hunt of the defense/aerospace industry during the late 80′s…. Yes anyone who has had anything to do with an agenda driven bureaucrat realizes the power of these people. That is why I call them little hitlers
Mike Dubrasich was correct. “The best way to combat corruption is to SHUT DOWN these useless bureaucracies.” They should never been given the power they have in the first place.

j molloy

I may be the only commentor here who left school when I was 16 but isn’t missapropreation just a fancy political word for stealing ?


Only $43M?
They need to take lessons from the British Government.
They can lose that in no time flat.

Mark and two Cats

Yet another scandal for the obama barackracy.


jorgekafkazar says
What a stupid statement! The money wasn’t put into a mattress, was it? Somebody did profit from these transactions, and quite handsomely, too.
Sounds like a reading comprehension fail. I think what is meant is that no one at NOAA profited.