Why Did Kellyanne Conway Consult For America's Top Science Organization?

Image: AP
Image: AP

You might not associate our fleshy president’s senior counselor Kellyanne Conway with science, seeing as she popularized the term “alternative facts.” But her consulting firm received thousands of dollars from the world’s largest organization of scientists, reports STAT.

The White House dumped a series of financial disclosures on Friday, including Conway’s. Her consulting fees included a nearly $13,000 bill to the American Association for the Advancement of the Sciences from The Polling Company Inc./WomanTrend, the company from which Conway recently stepped down as the CEO.

The fees were to “facilitate questionnaires about perceptions of science among religious communities,” Tiffany Lohwater, Interim Chief Communications Officer at AAAS, told Gizmodo in an email. AAAS did not work directly with Conway, and the contract was completed in 2015.


You can’t really blame AAAS for contracting a polling company, even The Polling Company back in 2015, before the presidential race really heated up. However, even back then, one of the company’s fairly broken opt-in polls caused controversy when President Trump cited its misconstrued results as cause enough to enact a Muslim ban. Additionally, Conway has consulted for antiabortion groups like National Right to Life Committee, Students for Life of America, and the Center for Medical Progress, according to the documents. She’s frequently been used by conservative folks to help get their messages across to women, according to a story in The New Yorker.

This is sort of a classical example of dramatic irony—how could anyone have known that Conway would leave her role to serve as senior salami beneath our nation’s Kielbasa-in-Chief? The AAAS, meanwhile, now supports the March for Science, the large non-partisan march for evidence based science that arose partially in opposition to the President’s rejection of some well-established facts, like human-forced climate change.

Lohwater stressed the non-partisan part in her email to Gizmodo.“The March for Science is a non-partisan worldwide movement drawing attention to the importance of science in exploring and explaining our world, enhancing our daily lives, and improving policymaking,” she said. “AAAS is a partner of the March for Science, consistent with our mission to advance science and serve society.”

The non-partisan part is sort of in question right now. The March for Science has recently been struggling with plenty of issues of inclusivity, as well as differing opinions over how partisan they should be.


Anyway, we’re not blaming anyone. The whole thing just makes you think, you know what I mean?



Former Gizmodo physics writer and founder of Birdmodo, now a science communicator specializing in quantum computing and birds

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I normally cringe at the sophomoric name-calling on this site, but “senior salami beneath our nation’s Kielbasa-in-Chief” gets an enthusiastic pass.