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Diversity at the Education Department, Take Two

President Bush presents Sam Heyman with the Presidential Citizens Medal. Heyman founded the Partnership for Public Service.
President Bush presents Sam Heyman with the Presidential Citizens Medal. Heyman founded the Partnership for Public Service. (White House Photo By Chris Greenberg)
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Anthony De Cristofaro, the CFC's executive director for the National Capital Area, says this person is mistaken. "Undesignated money is divided up in same percentage as designated money," he said. "There is no cap. There is no floor, either."

For those concerned about the organizations on the campaign's list, "we have a very vigorous screening process every year," De Cristofaro said.

He also said the campaign got an extension of the deadline for donations through the end of January, so staff members coming in with the Obama administration will have an opportunity to participate.

So far, the rumors apparently have not hurt the campaign, which, as of the end of November, is running about $400,000 ahead of last year. Despite the economy, "we're pretty much keeping pace with last year," he said.

The goal is $61 million.

The Flow of Scientific Research

The Commerce Department's inspector general said in a recent report that agency policies on the dissemination of scientific research "were in many cases unclear and contradictory, or overly burdensome and often ignored."

The report looked at charges that political appointees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had blocked publication of facts linking increased hurricane intensity to global warming.

The inspector general said release of the document was delayed because of senior-level personnel changes, inaction by a department reviewer and confusing public affairs policies. Last year, the Commerce Department issued a new public dissemination policy that officials think "will promote the broad and open dissemination of fundamental research where its scientists and researchers can freely communicate their findings with the public," according to the IG office.

The controversy grew from a 2005 article in NOAA's online magazine that said hurricane activity is cyclical. That upset some researchers who, according to the IG report, "believed it failed to reflect the full spectrum of the agency's research on hurricanes and the related effects of global warming."

To address that criticism, NOAA decided to issue a fact sheet in January 2006. It was completed in May but not released until that September and then only after press inquiries. Fourteen senators also complained.

One reason for the delay, according to the report, was "inaction by a senior policy advisor who provided limited assistance to NOAA in obtaining departmental clearance for the fact sheet despite being sent at least 6 drafts over a 4 month period."

You can see why some folks thought there was a hidden agenda at play.

The inspector general's office said remedial actions by the department and NOAA "should help facilitate the timely release of state of the science fact sheets and other fundamental research communications." The office wants NOAA to submit an action plan for implementing the recommendations within two months.

It's dry stuff, but if you want to read the report, go here: http://www.oig.doc.gov/oig/reports/2008/BSD-18407.pdf.

Presidential Citizens Medal

Kudos to Sam Heyman, founder of the good government Partnership for Public Service. President Bush gave him and 22 others the Presidential Citizens Medal on Wednesday. Heyman's citation said that "by encouraging young leaders to answer the call of public service, he has helped promote a vibrant federal workforce."

Contact Joe Davidson at federaldiary@washpost.com.

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