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China. The hunters, who were from the United States, had obtained permits from appropriate Chinese authorities to kill the sheep, which the Chinese government certified were not endangered. The tissue samples were imported into this country for scientific analysis, but U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Customs officials alleged that the tissues were taken from sheep that were listed as endangered. During this period attempts were made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether these particular sheep were those listed as endangered. Additional questions were raised by the various investigators pertaining to Dr. Mitchell's fundraising activities.

At the outset, and during the first year or more of the investigations, it appeared that the investigators were focusing on issues relating to Dr. Mitchell's duties for the Smithsonian, including fund raising. Dr. Mitchell was in China at the time of the hunt to conduct negotiations for a joint cooperative agreement between the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and Academia Sinica, and to arrange logistics for a scientific survey which was to include the collecting of specimens by Smithsonian scientists.

Although Dr. Mitchell's time and attendance records indicate that at the time he took the tissue samples he was on leave without pay, Dr. Mitchell's supervisor, Dr. Robert S. Hoffman, confirmed that the taking of the sheep tissue samples was within the scope of Dr. Mitchell's Smithsonian responsibilities; indeed, Dr. Mitchell did exactly what would be expected of any Smithsonian scientist presented with a similar research and collection opportunity. For nearly 100 years, the Institution and generations of its scientific staff have committed to the building of natural history collections and related data.

Traditionally, Smithsonian scientists do not limit their work for the Institution to a 9 to 5 workday. Consistent with all applicable laws, they take advantage of whatever collecting opportunities are available, regardless of the time of day, their location, or duty status. Smithsonian professional staff frequently do Smithsonian work while on vacations or during what officially may be personal, non-duty and non-paid time. Further, the Smithsonian Standards of Conduct (attached) require that the Institution has first priority when any employee is collecting objects or specimens that are appropriate for the National Collections, even though the employee is acting on his/her own personal time and has been traveling entirely at personal expense. (See Smithsonian Institution Standards of Conduct 7(i), pp. 6-7.)

Particularly because collecting activity is so core to the Smithsonian's purposes, when Dr. Mitchell appeared to be the subject of formal investigations the Smithsonian looked to its obligations to its employees and officials to defend them in legal proceedings that arise out of carrying out their work for the Institution The Smithsonian's historic policy and practice in this regard was codified in 1982 by the Institution's governing body, the Board of Regents, in the attached Revised Indemnification Resolution. That document obligates the Smithsonian to pay for the legal expenses of officials and employees connection with or resulting from any...proceeding..., criminal, administrative or investigative...,in which he may be involved, as a party or otherwise, by reason of his being or having employee of the Smithsonian...or by

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact