Cuccinelli orders new investigation

Attorney general hopes revised subpoena will acquire former University professor’s research

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli reissued a civil investigative demand to the University last Wednesday concerning research grants received by former University Prof. Michael Mann for his climate change research, according to an announcement Cuccinelli made Monday

Cuccinelli - who is accusing Mann of using manipulated or deceitful data to obtain taxpayer-funded research grants - hopes to use this renewed subpoena to acquire documents that will enable him to prosecute Mann under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.

Cuccinelli initially issued a subpoena for the records in April. The University opposed the request to relinquish the documents, and Albemarle County circuit judge Paul Peatross, Jr. rejected the demand on the grounds that it lacked necessary information and did not focus specifically on grants paid for by state dollars. According to Peatross' conclusion, "it is not clear what [Mann] did that was misleading, false or fraudulent in obtaining funds from the Commonwealth of Virginia." Cuccinelli, however, is appealing the original ruling to the state supreme court.

According to a Monday press release from the attorney general, "the new CID has been drafted to comply with the judge's ruling, contains information the judge believed was necessary and is more limited in scope than the prior CIDs." The revised demand focuses on one specific state grant, four less than the number addressed by the CID issued in April.

Mann, who is now a meteorology professor at Pennsylvania State University, believes the new CID is misdirected. Cuccinelli's claims of fraud have been directed specifically against climate change research conducted by Mann two decades ago. The grant discussed in the most recent demand, however, was used to pay for an unrelated study, Mann said.

"The grant that Mr. Cuccinelli cites supported the study of natural land-vegetation-atmosphere interaction in the African savanna," Mann stated in an e-mail.

Mann added that his role in the project funded by this grant was relatively minor.

"The grant had nothing to do with climate change at all, let alone my specific work on paleoclimate from the 1990s that Mr. Cuccinelli continues to misrepresent and attack with false, thoroughly discredited, allegations," Mann said. "Neither of the two articles on paleoclimate that Mr. Cuccinelli attacks in the CID are even mentioned or cited in the grant proposal."

Nevertheless, Cuccinelli has repeatedly cited one graph Mann used to present his climate change findings.

"Dr. Mann's Hockey Stick graph is based on suspect data," Cuccinelli stated in the Monday press release. "Others have shown that random numbers can be put into Mann's algorithm, and they always produce a hockey stick graph."

University spokesperson Carol Wood released a statement expressing the University's intent to continue to resist Cuccinelli's demands for documents.

"University leaders are disappointed that the institution must continue to litigate with the Attorney General, but will continue to stand for the principles the University has articulated since the CIDs were first put forward in April - and to support academic communities here and elsewhere," Wood said.

Mann said he believes the investigation is an attack specifically designed to thwart efforts to conduct global warming research.

"I find it extremely disturbing that Mr. Cuccinelli seeks to continue to abuse his power as the attorney general of Virginia in this way, pursuing an ongoing smear campaign against the University of Virginia, me and other climate scientists," Mann said. "All Virginian citizens ought to be extremely concerned that he is using their tax dollars to pursue a partisan witch hunt."

The law firm Hogan Lovells, which successfully represented the University in circuit court this summer, will be commissioned again by the University to review the most recent round of demands from the attorney general. The litigation has so far cost the University $352,874.76, Wood said, adding that the fees have been paid for from private funds.

Published October 6, 2010 in News

The Cavalier Daily welcomes thoughtful, respectful and relevant comments that contribute to a public dialogue. In order to maintain a high level of discourse, all comments must be approved by our moderator. For more information, view our full comment policy.


Add your $0.02, go to the comment form or follow the comment feed

(10/06/10 1:40pm)

Sadly, UVA is just one more of many universities who place grant $$$ above integrity and true science. Truely Thomas Jefferson would be proud indeed!!

"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." THOMAS JEFFERSON

Thomas Lee Elifritz
(10/06/10 3:46pm)

Feel free to investigate the plagiarism scandal at George Mason University as well. Details at

(10/06/10 4:23pm)

So the NEW ideals of Mr. Jefferson's University are as follows:

Science is to be kept secret. Data and methodology are none of your business, even if your tax money paid for it. Conclusions will be given to you, and you will accept them. Data and methodology in science - free to peer review and shared as a way to prove their viability for at least 150 years now - are now to kept from the public, and from the greater scientific community as a whole.

Forget all about that "follow the truth wherever it leads us" crap. This is partisan America in 2010. This is war.

Even if we pretend for a moment that Mr. Mann did not indeed send and recieve the emails he did in England, and that his own colleague had not called him out on being a fraud - why on eath would he and UVA now be trying to protect scientific data from scrutiny by ANYBODY? Why spend $350,000 hiding something if indeed you have nothing to hide?

Would the looney left, ivy tower faculty and staff at UVA be so enthusiastic about reversing 200 years of scientific transparency and peer review if, say, Liberty University scientists disproved every facet of enolution - but refused to let anyone see how they came to such conclusions? Does anbdy seriously think they would pack buses down to Lynchburg and stand with those faculty in standing up for "academic freedom" then?

Why on earth would Mr. Mann and UVA not be happy to show the taxpayers of Virginia what thorough, complete, and honest work they did to expose such a serious topic, and make a total fool out of Mr. Cuccinelli in the process? That would seem like a win/win for them to me..

But that is not at all what's happening, is it? In fact, the exact opposite is happening. I was not a doubter that the world was getting warmer. But I am now. People do not go to such length$ to hide things if indeed they have nothing to hide.

But at a university that routinely, daily, lies to its own students and profits from selling them cancer causing steroids without adequate warnings - and hands out very powerful doses of same to 13 year olds like free candy - none of this is suprising. If you are OK with creating birth defects and breast cancer for people and profitting from it, what's the big deal with keeping data and methodology secret in some silly climate study?

Carol Wood has sure been busy the last year or so, hasn't she? I have to wonder if Mrs. Sullivan had to sign on for this madness of subverting the scientific method as a prerequisite for becoming UVA president.. One way or the other, once this case gets promoted out of the range of the liberal activist judges around here - I think Mr. Cuccinelli is bound to get what he is looking for. Then we can all have a look at whether his suspicions are correct or not. Imagine all the better uses all this money could have gone to...

(10/06/10 7:58pm)

Yet another case of why I left the state of Va. long ago. I love UVA but the state govt. is a joke with the evangelical Bible thumpers running the show. The governor is from Pat Robertson U (Regents University). That tells me all I need to know.

(10/06/10 9:02pm)

Sean is at it again.

William Holder
(10/07/10 6:26am)

Sean is right. It's guite troubling to see the University operate to hide the details of this research - it should be just the opposite.

(10/07/10 6:42am)

"A lawyer should use the law’s procedures only for legitimate purposes and not to harass or intimidate others"

(10/07/10 2:07pm)

If Mann has nothing to hide then he would gladly submit everything that is requested!!

(10/08/10 11:09am)

Mann's work has been repeatedly and officially vindicated and his "hockey stick' has been repeatedly reconstructed using different methodologies, computer code and research teams -- this AG is using his office as a bully pulpit.

(10/10/10 3:31am)

Mr. Cuccinelli's sole reason for this is to score brownie points with the far right when he runs for governor.

Powered by powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News