NASA Inspector General Faults Space Agency Boss

By Marcia Dunn | September 20, 2010 | 12:18 PM EDT

In this July 29, 2009 photo released by NASA, a portrait of Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration is seen, in Washington, DC. (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)

(AP) - NASA's inspector general is criticizing the head of the space agency for his contact with an oil company.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is a former board member of Marathon Oil Corp. and remains a major stockholder. He contacted a senior Marathon official in April, seeking advice about an alternative fuel project that NASA was considering.

On Monday, the inspector general concluded that Bolden's contact with the oil company did not violate federal laws or ethics regulations. But the inspector general found that the telephone call by Bolden was inconsistent with the ethics pledge that he signed upon taking office last year.

Bolden has since acknowledged his action was "inappropriate." He has recused himself from the fuel project and received some refresher ethics training.