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Cuccinelli urged to rescind subpoena; U-Va. urged to resist it

Rosalind Helderman

The Union of Concerned Scientists has sent a letter to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, asking him to rescind his demand for documents from the University of Virginia related to the research of a climate science professor.

Cuccinelli has asked the university to turn over a wide range of documents related to grants sought by Michael Mann, a leading proponent of global warming who worked at U-Va. until 2005. Cuccinelli says he is investigating the possibility that Mann violated the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.

"It is unacceptable to put forward allegations against Dr. Mann and other climate scientists simply because their research results do not comport with one's preconceptions," writes Francesca T. Grifo, director and senior scientist
of the group's Scientific Integrity Program, in the letter.

"The notion of labeling controversial scientific findings as 'fraudulent' is extremely troubling. Vigorous debate and exchange of differing ideas are at the very core of the scientific method. Disagreement among scientists -- to say nothing of disagreements between scientists and politicians -- is simply not the same thing as fraud," she wrote.

Meanwhile, Mann said today that he hopes the university will resist the attorney general's demand. "I hope the university stands up for academic freedom and stands for the right of academics and scientists to proceed with their work without the fear of retribution of politicians who find the results of their work inconvenient, as appears to be the case here."

Indeed, the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act lays out a process by which an entity that receives one of the Civil Investigative Demands could file a petition in court and ask a judge to modify or set aside the demand. U-Va.'s faculty may well urge the university's rector and visitors, the actual subjects of Cuccinelli's request, to do just that.

All we know so far is what the university has said in a statement: It believes it is obligated to answer the request and will do so "to the extent required by law."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 4, 2010; 1:23 PM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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Cuccinelli to Mann: show me your papers.

Posted by: dpcret93 | May 4, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

it's great that this is the biggest issue facing the state. Oh, and settling the Civil War.

Posted by: annie7 | May 4, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about science? Jesus and God will take care of everything. Science schmience. Just read your bibles and shut up.

Posted by: FiatBooks | May 4, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The Union of Concerned Scientists -- despute their high-minded name, are in reality a bunch of crackpot commie libs. That should raise a big red flag about Mann and his research alone. If anything, their involvement with this makes it all the more likely that Mann committed fraud against the Virginia taxpayers.

Posted by: JTR555 | May 5, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

The first priority of the Union of Concerned Scientists should be restoring public confidence in climate science, not defending Michael Mann.

As for UVA: if the University is smart, it will take care not to create the impression it has something to hide.

Posted by: coastofutopia | May 5, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

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