Trump-tied think tank caught sneaking convicted child molester onto EPA panel


The conservative Heartland Institute wants the Trump administration to listen to a climate change denier convicted of trying to molest his own daughter.

The Trump administration continues to rely on a network of influential conservative think tanks to provide it with a pipeline of individuals and ideas to prop up Donald Trump's failing presidency.

This unwarranted trust in such organizations has now led to a convicted child molester appearing on a suggested list of "scientists" created by the Heartland Institute and given to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Oliver Manuel was one of the names submitted by Heartland for a supposed "debate" being set up by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to discuss climate change. Pruitt is a known denier of climate change science, while Trump believes in the conspiracy theory that climate change was a "hoax" developed by the Chinese government.

And Heartland is apparently so dedicated to the cause of denying the existence or the urgency of climate change that it was willing to overlook Manuel's repugnant offense against a child, because he's an ally pushing their anti-science agenda.

Manuel, a nuclear chemist, has promoted the crackpot idea that the sun is made up of iron, not hydrogen, and runs a website called In his anti-scientific world view, this would mean efforts to deal with greenhouse emissions are not necessary.

Real scientists understand that the sun is made up of mostly hydrogen (70 percent), not iron. To say otherwise is to engage in promoting junk that is decidedly anti-science.

But Heartland is mostly concerned with reversing the EPA's findings that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases pose a threat to human health and to the environment.

And Manuel's message is one that Heartland wants more people to hear — even if it comes from someone as repulsive as he is.

Manuel was convicted in 2008 of attempting to sodomize his 11-year-old daughter. He was also originally charged with two counts of rape and four counts of sodomy.

The Columbia Tribune, who first reported the charges, said they were made "in connection with sex abuse claims involving his children that date back nearly 40 years."

The additional charges were later dropped, but Manuel was convicted of the attempted sodomy charge and has had to register on Missouri's state Sex Offender Registry. Manuel denied the charges behind his conviction in a statement to HuffingtonPost.

For the hardcore anti-science right, a crank with a crackpot theory who would push the EPA away from their scientific findings is the right kind of man for the job.

Even if he tried to rape his own daughter.