Peter Gleick Resigns as President of Pacific Institute … Because of Fakegate?

Guest essay by Joe Bast

On Thursday, March 24th, POLITICO announced disgraced climate scientist Peter Gleick has stepped down as president of the Pacific Institute, though he will remain there as a researcher and fundraiser. Interestingly, no successor has been named, so “the search for a new president is underway.” What was the hurry?

In 2012, Gleick stole the identity of a Heartland board member (committing identity theft, a federal crime) and used it to commit a second crime (stealing and revealing confidential documents from a competitor, industrial espionage). He confessed to both crimes, but not to a third crime, libel, which he very likely committed by forging a document and lying repeatedly to his allies — and then to the general public and to his own board of directors — about the true origins of that document. He has yet to confess to that crime. This whole hoary incident is called Fakegate and is documented on this site.

The Heartland Institute, Gleick’s victim, carefully documented Gleick’s crimes and tried to persuade the U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois to prosecute him, but failed. At the time, we couldn’t understand why: Gleick confessed to committing crimes, and the crimes he committed caused great damage to Heartland’s reputation and to the wider world of public policy debate. Letting him go unpunished would set a terrible precedent: Groups that support different perspectives on controversial issues are now apparently free to break the law to attack and discredit their opponents.

Why didn’t the Department of Justice prosecute Gleick? Events in recent weeks help explain it. 

The Obama administration’s heavy-handed abuse of constitutional authority has extended beyond the IRS, FCC, and EPA to include the Department of Justice. The DOJ apparently has consulted with the FBI to investigate global warming realists, and possibly plans to use RICO against groups like The Heartland Institute. Astonishing, and frightening. And it raises an obvious question: For how long has DOJ viewed global warming realists as possible criminalsand not victims? 

Maybe The Heartland Institute never stood a chance against Peter Gleick, because DOJ already made up its mind that alarmists are the “good guys” and realists are the  “bad guys” in the global warming debate. Maybe Gleick had political protection from the White House. Maybe political bias trumped justice?

Which brings us back to Peter Gleick’s resignation as president of the Pacific Institute. Gleick is only 60 years old. It’s unusual for a CEO to resign without announcing a replacement … unless the resignation was involuntary and there wasn’t time to recruit a replacement. Was Peter Gleick fired?

Maybe members of the board of the Pacific Institute, who refused to respond to not one buttwo letters from The Heartland Institute warning them of Gleick’s misconduct and calling on them to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities, finally realized they were being lied to by Gleick. That they had failed to behave in an honorable fashion. That their fake “internal investigation” was being misrepresented by the liberal mainstream media. That their failure to act had made the Pacific Institute a joke to many in the science community because its CEO was an unconvicted felon. 

Maybe some of this, or all of this?

The statute of limitations on Gleick’s crimes runs five years … to February 2017, a month after a new president is installed in office. Interesting timing.


This WUWT forensic analysis (done by an expert third party) of Gleick’s letter suggested he was in fact the letter writer. Credit goes to Steve Mosher for initially fingering Gleick based on patterns in writing observed.

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88 thoughts on “Peter Gleick Resigns as President of Pacific Institute … Because of Fakegate?

    • “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”
      – Albert Einstein

      I don´t think the Heartland crime is a small matter. However, if Gleick was responsible, he has probably more skeletons in the closet.

  1. Anyone know of a statute of limitations for identity theft, espionage, forgery, and libel?

    Political cycles change and if he is not being investigated because of political favoritism, then that can change.

    • Most crimes have a statute of 5 years. If it’s concealed, then the statute begins when the crime is discovered.

      It would take hard proof of active corruption to reset that clock once it expires. That would effectively require the administration to be foolish enough to put an illegal order into writing and someone to be disgusted enough to save it. I don’t see that happening.

      • But doesn’t the fact the the Pacific Institute is moving him sideways suggest elements of a conspiracy, and a new AG could decide to take a look at the operation, top-to-bottom? It’s pretty scary when 7 Federal Marshals appear at the front door and yell “everyone! … step away from your computers immediately!”

  2. I nominate Anthony Watts for the presidency of the Pacific Institute. Oh…….wait a minute. He has no identity theft experience. Never mind, he’s not qualified.

    • Hilarious! Still a lying git then.

      From unmeritus pres. to emeritus pres. , nice move. I bet the ex-CEO of VW wishes he’d thought of that one.

    • Does the job description of “Chief Scientist” include being able to lie better than anyone else ??

      Just asking

      G

      Izzat President Emeritus, or President Emeticus ??

      • IIRC, Julia Slingo’s title at the UK Met Office is Chief Science Officer, if that’s a guide.

  3. Did they publicize his severance and pension figures? I think our “liberal” detractors are doing even more harm to themselves in identifying right wing as the sceptics. It seems to be tarring us with the virtue of honesty.

  4. “Why didn’t the Department of Justice prosecute Gleick?”

    For the reasons cited in the essay, and also because the law is meant only to go after the state’s enemies and not its friends. When the prosecutors use selective prosecution to punish enemies and help friends of the State then we have a clear violation of the constitution — but so what? The Constitution has been a “G-D piece of paper” for many generations now. Recall that it is the State itself which interprets what the Constitution means.

    When I mentioned what is fair to my lawyer in a case I was involved in, he said “the Fair comes to town in October and is located out at the Country Fair Grounds”. He said we do “justice” not fairness in court. (and you will not see much justice either)

    ~ Mark “guilty of skepticism” Stoval

  5. Why hasn’t Heartland pursued a private criminal prosecution of Gleick ?

    They could use that well known lawyer from the American Competitive Enterprise Institute or whatever it’s called.

      • Their official statement is that pushing a libel suit would undermine their chances at him getting prosecuted criminally. Besides, that’s the hardest to prove and most slippery of charges. The identity theft charge is clearest, most criminally important, and is pretty much unquestionable. That’s where the hammer should fall.

      • Back in 2012 a whole bunch of WUWT commenters asked that very question. It didn’t happen. I can only speculate on why and I am not a lawyer.

        Lawsuits are horrendously expensive. Even Heartland won, they might not recoup enough to cover their legal expenses. The net result might be to put both Heartland and the Pacific Institute out of business. Going to court is a serious crapshoot, the outcome is never certain. On the other hand, the mere threat of a lawsuit is often quite effective.

        Actually, I was wrong about the outcome of a lawsuit. The lawyers usually profit.

      • If a dead beat tax cheat can’t pay his taxes, but the tax lawyer can get him off for pennies on the dollar, is it the IRS who pays the Lawyer’s fee or how does that work ??

        I mean I can see how that would work if the lawyer brings the dead beat to the IRS attention, which gets him back on the tax rolls for the future, if the IRS gives the tax lawyer a good deal for the chump.

        But the guy can’t pay his taxes so he certainly can’t pay the lawyer, and the IRS would never give a kickback to the lawyer to get the tax chump back on the rolls; would they ??

        So who does pay the lawyer ??

        G

      • I think all of us remember the 15 minutes of “fame”, 30 minutes from now nobody will even remember who this is and he’ll still collect his $$. And btw I thought that the statue of limitations was 7 years, has that changed as well?

    • I think some of the provocative language of this post, accusing Gleick of various crimes is legally dubious and in probably intended to be goading him isto suing for libel, or accepting being called a criiminal in print.

      I get the impression Joe Bast would like nothing more that for Gleick to attack him for libel. At least that would be one way to get him into court.

      • Oh, I get it. They were supposed to have disappeared years ago and if there is still some left it must be because of ‘delayed’ melting.

        It’s a bit like cold winters are just a sign of ‘delayed’ global warming.

      • Ah, and fact that Arctic sea ice volume has increased by >40% since 2012, it is just a sign of delayed melting too.

    • Delayed ice melt?
      ===============
      I knew it. Arctic ice isn’t melting, rather we are seeing delayed freezing.

    • Well If I’m not mistaken (often so), Bungledash has had problems with insufficient water in the Ganges river, because India won’t melt it for them. And If I’m rong on that Ganges river; just apply it to whichever river it is that doesn’t have any water in it at the moment.

      California finally let a whole bunch of water go over the spillway on one of their storage dams (izzat Oroville) actually to make room for the Sierra snow melt coming up. It’s a anti-flooding precaution.

      Good for the fishes and us too.

      G

  6. “Interestingly, no successor has been named, so “the search for a new president is underway.”

    Is there big money involved? I might be willing to switch teams… ;)

    • I should think there is very little money coming into Pacific Inst since this fiasco.

      Becoming “emeritus” ethics officer for AGU probably did not do much for fund-raising either. I suspect that the fact that he has just left ( sorry got emeritus status ) may indicate they are expecting some action may be imminent and need to distance him before it hits the fan and they come under pressure to remove him in disgrace.

    • Translation: For a fat donation from a certain green hedge fund manager, they will name whoever they are told to pick.

  7. Forging documents is not a crime in and of itself. It has to do some damage for it to become a crime. And that is probably why Gleick was never prosecuted. Lying to your bosses is not a crime especially if your bosses approve of your lies. Proving libel is difficult; in this case not in proving malicious behavior and intent but again in proving damages. If it was a slam dunk, a civil suit with a lower threshold of proof would already have been filed.

    This in no way means Gleick is not dishonest low life scum and a disgrace to science, it just means it is not a criminal in and of itself to be a dishonest low life scum and disgrace to your profession.

    There is some satisfaction in exposing how disgraceful Gleick and the Pacific Institute are, but it is somewhat dimmed in knowing alarmist activists and scientists have no shame.

    • It has to do some damage for it to become a crime.
      ============
      Common law recognizes no harm no found. However, much of common law is being replaced by statute law. In this case your crime is violating the law, regardless of harm.

      However, statute law requires enforcement and it is hard to get someone to prosecute a crime if they stand to lose their job over it. In the US many of these positions are elected, and thus rely on political donations. Those that control the donations control the prosecution.

    • Alx March 28, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Forging documents is not a crime in and of itself. It has to do some damage for it to become a crime. And that is probably why Gleick was never prosecuted. Lying to your bosses is not a crime especially if your bosses approve of your lies. Proving libel is difficult; in this case not in proving malicious behavior and intent but again in proving damages. If it was a slam dunk, a civil suit with a lower threshold of proof would already have been filed.

      Thanks, Alx. He was guilty of wire fraud at a minimum, which is a crime in and of itself.

      Next, his actions drove donors away from Heartland, so the forgery indeed did do damage. However, as you point out, proving that is difficult, particularly since some donors were and wanted to remain anonymous.

      w.

  8. IT could be something entirely unrelated; people who demonstrate unethical behavior (such as forgery and identity theft) in one area often engage in it in other areas of their lives.

    Whatever Mr Gleick did in relation to the Heartland Institute was likely not too far from what he does to other opponents, antagonists or obstacles in his life.

  9. IIRC the main reason HI didn’t go after the fraudster was “disclosure”. Too many supporters of HI would have had their names in the public domain.

  10. What is the big deal here? Hillary Clinton lies like this all the time, and she is a leading candidate for President of the United States. Who cares about people that lie? For those on the left, the answer may be: “not me.”

    • Part of the serial behavior of lies comes from their history of no consequences when caught. This is also how you get the term career criminals. They earn that title from their own repeated actions and a system that allows it to progress.

    • There are 147 FBI agents involved in the Hillary Clinton email investigation
      Wash Pos—today

  11. This is truly pathetic and alarming. I’ve been audited by the IRS 3 times during the Obama Administration, as have some of my friends. These lefties simply feel they are above the law. We can only hope that Americans wake up and rebuke the Government being used as a weapon against the average tax payer. One perp walk of these climate criminals and they will all scurry like rats from a sinking ship.

    • I got audited many years ago, over some tax issue legal advice; they wanted to see a receipt. I dug into my papers and found several receipts for more tax legal bills than I had claimed.
      So they had to refund me some more unowed taxes.

      They must think I’m a crappy tax cheat risk. Tracers work equally well in both directions. OLD fighter pilot’s caveat . (That’s really old fighter pilots aka survivors).

      G

    • DW:

      You should have gotten funding from NSF for climate education, like Maibach at George Mason. I’m sure that would be easy to do. [sarc off]

      • opluso: I actually got a lot of funding for science education research and development from the Energy Department’s Office of Science. See my site: http://www.stemed.info/index.html But we had to stay well away from climate change. Hence my proposal to Heartland, which was the object of Gleick’s falsification. There is a great lack of classroom materials that explain the skeptical side of climate science. The Web is awash with AGW-scare materials, much of it government funded, including by NSF.

  12. A woman in the administration at college referred to her ex as “my husband emeritus”. I commented on that at one point and she admitted to using a rather different term back when he was delinquent on support payments.

    Maybe the the Pacific Institute board had taken to using a term other than “president” for Peter Gleick.

  13. One of the basic characteristics of leftist leaders is to become over confident in over reach behavior and over confident in their immunity from consequences. In fact they are further removed from consequences than most everyone else in their actions as well as their recommendations and goals. It all fits together. Now hand over some grant money to study it.

  14. I am so disgusted that he was not prosecuted for this that…., anyway. I believe something must be done to change the mindset! Failure to prosecute MUST ITSELF BE CRIMINAL, right?

  15. This may be the Trump effect. The more and more likely it may seem that Trump will become president, the more and more the establishment will auto-rebalance towards his views and potential policies. Nobody want to be accused of doing nothing, so creating a few fall-guys in the Warmist system will be a good defence. “Honest – we did our best, look at gleick…..”

  16. Is libel a crime in the USA? In England and Wales its is actionable in a civil court but it is not a crime punishable by law.

  17. I am inclined to agree with the other commenters that Gleick’s resignation is not due to Fakegate. If this was an issue of concern for the Board, they would have asked him to resign long before now. And as you pointed out, the current administration supports law breaking so long as you are in ideological synchronicity with it.

    It could very well be that he is shifting into a new, less active role with the Institute.

  18. Money talks, Gleick walks (sideways)?

    Pacific Institute -Total receipts

    2010 – $2,245,984
    2011 – $1,752,439
    2012 – $1,209,525
    2013 – $944,722
    2014 – $1,083,990 (Hurrah, the slide is arrested!)

    Did receipts dip back under $1,000,000 in 2015? Whatever, the unconvicted felon hung onto his ~$150,000 salary throughout, and no doubt will continue to do so in his new position.

    • Fascinating decline, down to half or so. This alone may explain the removal. Could be due to Fakegate.

    • Charlie on March 28, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      – – – – – –

      Charlie,

      You have identified a relevant factor for the PI board to have used to move Gleick out (via a sideways maneuver). Disappearing funding $ has to be a concern for the PI.

      I think several other factors that may have contributed to his sideways removal are: 1) climate alarmism is a rapidly declining area of interest, plus 2) the political environment in the USA is radically shifting to skeptical valuations due to the presidential campaign trends.

      Those 3 three factors were probably increased in importance in the PI board’s mind due to the pre-existing Fakegate background of Gleick.

      John

    • When you factor in costs and inflation in California, they are still losing ground and probably personnel. So keeping him on staff probably means others will be let go.

  19. Peter Gleick should spend time in prison and then rot in hell when he dies. No doubt about it.

  20. An action could be commenced before the limitation period and then there is no chance to weasel out due to time . The Heartland Board member would likely have the best case to press . If Gleick admitted to doing it already it would be a short discovery . It would open up an audit trail of Emails between others at the Pacific Institute who may or may not have been aware of plans to gain access and use the Heartland Board members identity .IF an an ultimate objective was to pry into Heartland’s affairs without authorization and to potentially harm the Board member and Heartlands reputation then other charges would be possible . Wire theft charges are a serious offence and depending on what the access to information was used for much more serious charges could be added . It seems highly unlikely the Pacific Institute is going to pick up the legal bill of a rogue management employee unless they know or anticipate the allegations run a lot deeper than one lone incident run by one person on their own .
    The only way to get to the bottom of this is through the courts and clearly the government isn’t motivated on their own .

  21. I worry that the administration would go ahead with prosecution before the election but then Obama would give pardons to various people such as Gleick and Hillary Clinton.

    • I don’t believe that prosecution is required for a Presidential pardon.

      http://www.legalflip.com/Article.aspx?id=61&pageid=321

      Presidential pardons can be granted anytime after an offense has been committed including before, during, or after a conviction for the offense. If granted before a conviction is given, it prevents any penalties from attaching to the person. If granted after a conviction, it removes the penalties, and restores the person to all his or her civil rights. However, a pardon can never be granted before an offense has been committed – because the president does not have the power to waive the laws.

      However, Presidential pardons only apply to federal criminal acts against the United States. Not sure if Gleick’s crimes are federal crimes against the US.

      On the other hand, it seems to me that Ms Clinton could easily be pardoned by President Obama, even before any charges or prosecution.

  22. Oh, I dunno; Mr. Gleick has done the decent thing, even belatedly. (No doubt in an empty room, left alone with a bottle of whiskey and a hockey stick!)

  23. It has become all to obvious that our government routinely fails to apply our laws equally. This is the sort of problem that arises from the growth of a career political and bureaucratic class that has become nothing less than a pseudo royalty believing it is above the law and entitled to do as it pleases without repercussion. It is unlikely that this will soon change unless the people finally insist upon it.

  24. Mr Gleick at the Pacific Institute’s website on the occasion of their 20th anniversary-

    “In 1987, the Cold War was starting to warm up, but so was the Earth. The Berlin Wall was starting to come down, but nascent political and ideological threats were emerging. Traditional academic disciplines were searching for new language, tools, and answers to interdisciplinary problems. The concept of sustainability was just being introduced, but there was a growing appreciation that problems of the environment, economy, and society were intricately linked.
    This idea drove us to create the Pacific Institute. We believed that global problems and effective solutions in the 21st century would require innovative ways of thinking, seeing, and doing. “

    Personally I found no nascent political and ideological threats emerging at the time the Berlin Wall was being torn down. Rather a feeling of jubilation and exhilaration but each to their own eh Peter?

  25. Creating and milking a nonprofit organization in the U.S. is good work when you can spin it. It all comes down to fundraising and cheer leading. Execution? not so much. It’s the persona projection that counts.

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