Climate scientist Daniel Alongi has been indicted by the Australian government on charges of defrauding taxpayers out of $556,000 in false expenses since 2008.
Alongi has already admitted to creating false invoices, credit card statements, and e-mails to cover his misappropriation of funds.
Alongi’s indictment raises serious questions concerning the credibility of his research. During the period of Alongi’s alleged fraud, his research focusing on the impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef, coastal mangroves, and coastal ecosystems was published in numerous national and international journals.
Meteorologist Anthony Watts said in a post on his popular climate website Watts Up With That he’s concerned Alongi may have falsified scientific findings to justify his expenses. Alongi has published 140 scientific publications and his work has been cited 5,861 times by other researchers.
“If Alongi falsely claimed to have spent half a million dollars on radioisotope testing, it would look pretty strange if he didn’t produce any false test results, to justify the expenditure of all that money,” wrote Watts.
‘Scientists Not Immune to Corruption’
Alongi’s arrest marks the second time in recent months questions have been raised concerning the use of government funds given to carry out climate research.
In late 2015, the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology began an investigation into George Mason University professor Jagadish Shukla’s non-profit research think tank, the Institute for Global Environment and Security Inc (IGES). IGES received more than $63 million dollars in federal grants, accounting for 98 percent of its operating revenue since 2001, but it produced very little published research.
A complaint filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Cause of Action with the Internal Revenue Service requested the tax agency to investigate Shukla and IGES for illegally engaging in lobbying and advocacy activities, rather than conducting the research the government grants were given to them for.
“Scientists can be tempted by money just like any other profession,” said Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot. “A Ph.D. does not make one immune to potential financial corruption.