Saturday, May 30, 2009

Leroy Chao surfaces as ninth on Augustine II

No pattern of cronyism among
cited Commission members

Mark Matthews of the Orlando Sentinel reports in The Write Stuff we may add to the names already mentioned as possible member of the second Augustine former astronaut Leroy Chiao The new commission has been created by President Obama to examining American manned spaceflight policies, the Constellation program in particular.

"Sources said the former space station crew member likely would be named to the blue ribbon panel headed by retired Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine that will help chart the future of NASA’s human spaceflight program,"Matthews posts.

"Reached by phone, Chiao said that he had been contacted by administration officials assembling the committee and that they expressed interested. “I don’t think I’ve done anything since I left NASA to [disqualify] me,” he joked."

"Chiao retired from NASA in 2005 after flying three shuttle missions and serving more than six months aboard the International Space Station, where he “performed numerous tasks including 20 science experiments and two repair and installation space walks,” according to his NASA biography."

"Since then, he’s worked as an executive at the private spaceflight company Excalibur Almaz and as a consultant and public speaker, according to Chiao’s own website. He has a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and can speak English, Russian and Mandarin Chinese."

No "pay-to-play" pattern has emerged among those names already mentioned as possible members of the second Augustine Commission, or at least not in the Federal Election Commission's online data.

Norman Augustine was an early supporter of President George W. Bush in 2000 and contributed $2,300 each in 2007 to the presidential campaigns of Senator John McCain (R-NM) and former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA).

Dr. Sally Ride contributed $4,600 to President Obama election committee through the 2008 Democrat primary and the general election cycles in 2007, representing close to the maximum any individual can contribute to any single campaign committee.

General Lester Lyles contributed $1,000 to the Obama campaign in September 2008, barely considered "Big Money" in professional campaign financing.

In August 2007 he contributed $1,000 to the Dayton Power & Light employee's Political Action Committee, which has contributed over years regularly donatied to Dayton Congressman and now House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and also incumbent Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) "Dayton Power and Light Company Employee's Fund for Responsible Citizenship" contributed $1,000 to McCain-Palin during the General Election, and gave $500 to the Ohio Democratic Party in 2007.

Jeff Greason contributed $500 in early support for the brief presidential campaign of Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM), and there was a good-cross section of support for Democrats and Republican running for federal office among those who identified Greason's XCOR as their place of employment.

Bo Bejmuk has made mid-range contributions, from time to time, supporting Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), now the ranking member of the House Science and Technology Committee Twice, earlier in the past decade, Bejmuk contributed $500 Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA40).

Dr. Christopher Chyba is reported as having contributed exclusively to Democrat federal campaigns, in recent years, $500 each to General Wesley Clark in 2004 and subsequently to the primary campaigns of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) early in 2008. In the final hours before Election Day 2008 Dr. Chyba contributer $1,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and through 2008 he contributed $750 to Barack Obama. Over the years, he has been a frequent supported with small donations made to Congressman Rush D. Holt (D-NJ12).

Leroy Chiao, Professor Edward F. Crawley of MIT and Wanda Jackson, CEO of Aerospace Corporation, do not appear in the FEC's records as contributing anything to any federal campaign in the past decade.