Virginia county judge tells Cuccinelli to cool his jets

Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a heckler of higher education in his state (and probably all states) and a climate science heretic, must wait to get the information he asks of the University of Virginia and its association with super-researcher Michael Mann, at least until a hearing August 20 on whether Cuccinelli is trying to act bigger than his breeches beyond his constitutional powers.

A report in the Danville Daily Progress and explains:

Albemarle County Circuit Judge Cheryl V. Higgins has temporarily stayed a subpoena that demands the University of Virginia produce reams of documents related to the research activities of a former climate change researcher.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued a civil investigative demand – which carries the legal force of a subpoena – in search of documents relating to Michael Mann, a prominent climate change scientist who worked at UVa from 1999 to 2005.

Cuccinelli, a climate change skeptic, has said he is seeking evidence of possible violations of Virginia’s anti-fraud law in connection with five grants totaling $466,000 that Mann obtained while at UVa.

UVa has challenged Cuccinelli’s CID in court, arguing that it is unprecedented, overly broad, oversteps the attorney general’s authority, and violates the basic tenet of academic freedom.

Higgins’ order allows UVa to hold off on Cuccinelli’s demand until the dispute is resolved in court.

A hearing date has been set for Aug. 20.

Resources, and more:

It’s not just that Mr. Cuccinelli has presented no real evidence that Mr. Mann did anything “fraudulent” while conducting his research, applying for his grants or analyzing his data; in fact, Mr. Cuccinelli’s targeting of Mr. Mann appears to be based on little more than a misreading of e-mails the scientist wrote. Multiple scientific review committees have examined Mr. Mann’s work, and all have cleared the scientist of wrongdoing.

We also call for an end to McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them. Society has two choices: We can ignore the science and hide our heads in the sand and hope we are lucky, or we can act in the public interest to reduce the threat of global climate change quickly and substantively. The good news is that smart and effective actions are possible. But delay must not be an option.

6 Responses to Virginia county judge tells Cuccinelli to cool his jets

  1. […] Houston in Texas, and Washington, D.C., and New York, would also be poring over the piece.  Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia would also be paying attention to it, if he were concerned about […]


  2. […] Also, as suggested earlier here, the judge noted that Cuccinelli’s authority did not extend to four of the five grants questioned, because they were federal grants, not state grants.  (See here, too.) […]


  3. ChrisD says:

    “Or can we agree that Cuccinelli is using his authority to engage in a personal political vendetta?”

    Absolutely. If Mann’s results countered global warming rather than supporting it, Cuccinelli would be hosting banquets for him.


  4. Nick K says:

    “Cuccinelli claims to be investigating whether or not Mann “knowingly used inaccurate data in grant applications.” if I was Minnesota’s Attorney General I could “invesitgate whether or not the GOP “knowingly used fraud to win elections” right?

    Or can we agree that Cuccinelli is using his authority to engage in a personal political vendetta?


  5. Ed Darrell says:

    That inaccurate data would be the data Mann gathered or used — not, as the state statute requires, state funding irregularities. Those grant applications — to the federal agencies — fall under the federal statute that makes fraud in research illegal, taking it out of the purview of the state attorney general.


  6. ChrisD says:

    Don’t get me wrong–I think Cuccinelli’s actions are outrageous and entirely political–but the report at the Chronicle of Higher Education doesn’t appear to say what you’re saying it says.

    It says that Cuccinelli claims to be investigating whether or not Mann “knowingly used inaccurate data in grant applications.” This seems to me to be quite different from what you say above.


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