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UPDATED: 800 Virginia scientists and professors sign letter asking Cuccinelli to drop inquiry

Rosalind Helderman

University professors aren't known to be the most organized bunch, but in Virginia they do seem to have found a cause in opposition to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's subpoena to the University of Virginia seeking documents related to the work of climate scientist Michael Mann.

The Union of Concerned Scientists today released a letter it said has been signed by 800 scientists and professors in Virginia urging Cuccinelli (R) to drop his efforts to collect documents about Mann. Cuccinelli has said he is investigating whether Mann defrauded the public as he sought grants to perform research into global warming. Mann left U.-Va. in 2005 and now teaches at Penn State University.

The university's Board of Visitors last week hired outside counsel to consider its options; it faces a May 27 deadline to decide whether to resist the subpoena in court.

The national science advocacy group says it has signatories on its letter most of Virginia's public campuses. Most--296--come from Mann's former colleagues at the University of Virginia. Eighty-five others signed on from George Mason University and 68 at Virginia Tech, the group said.

"The request is unfounded and could undermine the effectiveness of not only climate scientists but also thousands of other Virginia researchers," the letter reads in part.

Read the letter and see the signatories here.

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UPDATE: The Board of Directors for the American Association for the Advancement of Science today also weighed in the subpoena. Find their statement here.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 18, 2010; 10:09 AM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Global warming, Ken Cuccinelli, Michael Mann, Union of Concerned Scientists, University of Virginia  
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Cuccinelli won't drop it. He's on a far-right wing mission. Nothing like a lawyer to understand the scientific method. Look for him in the next GOP primary for Gov. next go around.

Posted by: jckdoors | May 18, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I equate this to the vicious attacks scientists in the dark ages received from religious fanatics when they tried to explain the earth was round, the planets, stars and the Sun don't rotate around the earth and the earth is much older than believed.

Cooch is nothing more than a medieval fanatic out to silence scientific voices because it differs from his beliefs.

This man is a raging maniac.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 18, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

they should also be demanding that McDonnell asks for Cuccinelli's resignation.

Posted by: MarilynManson | May 18, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

What a waste of tax-payers money!

Posted by: stoneyuptwn | May 18, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see what other science KooKooNeli tries to take about the Germ Theory of Disease? Why fight crime in Va when you can have "fun with sciience"?!!

Posted by: lsf07 | May 18, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately,there have been instances of fabrication of facts, or in other words lies that have been told so it does raise the question of what other nefarious deeds might these individuals have participated in- if they have nothing to hide, then answering the publics questions should be easy and self serving. Cuccinelli is not the only person who questions the climate scientists. there are plenty of scientists who also have disagreement with some of the material they have presented, and it seems rightly so as the material was manipulated to try to prove their point.
While I certainly believe that we can all be better stewards of this earth, and should make every attempt to do so, I do not buy into all the manufactured data that seems to say different things to different groups of scientists. Who is right and who is wrong will be left to see, but the earth has gone through numerous transformations over time, and will continue to do so regardless of what we do or don;t do. We will not change the course of nature in the long term, perhaps hasten a bit, but not change it.

Posted by: pennv | May 18, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The flaw in pennv's attempt at reason is the assumption that Cuccinelli is approaching this as a good faith inquiry. This is anything but. It's a thinly veiled attempt to bully and intimidate climate change scientific inquiry.

Posted by: ajlerner1 | May 18, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

It makes no difference what Cuckonelli's reasons are for demanding the information. I say let him have it. Obviously he is not a scientist and will need experts to interpret what he gets. And for sure he will try to twist whatever he finds to support his views. But still why hide it? I say the tradition of replicable scientific research depends on willingness to share data and methods with other observers as one way to test conclusions.
In effect, resisting the demand for disclosure makes his research seem more like a statement of faith--just take my word for it, what I found is true--rather than a statement of science.

Posted by: meltee | May 18, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Kookinelli is a member and proud spokesman for The Tea Party which is funded by Oil and Coal interests. He is abusing his office and Taxpayer resources to pursue the Oil and Coal Tea Party agenda.

The primary funding sources for the Tea Party are two conservative groups: Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks which receive substantial funding from David Koch of Koch Industries, the largest privately-held energy company in the country, and the conservative Koch Family Foundations. Koch industries are responsible for hundreds of Oil spills spread over multiple states.

Why isn’t the Tea Party organizing and demonstrating against Industries causing the Deaths and Lost Livelihoods of Millions of Americans? Why aren't they protesting Lack of Regulation of Wall Street, and Oil and Coal companies criminal negligence that is Killing People and causing the Financial Devastation of Millions of Americans? Why aren't they protesting against BP and Halliburton's Gross Negligence that caused Deaths, Pollution and the destruction of Multi-Billion dollar Tourism and Commercial Fishing Industries in the Gulf Coast Oil disaster?

Because the Companies Responsible is who Started, Fund and Direct Tea Party actions. The Tea Party has a Clear Allegiance: The Rich, Oil and Coal and both Kookinelli and McDuckell are firmly in their pocket.

Posted by: liveride | May 18, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

This guy is just horrible. Its astonishing that a public official, one person, can do so much damage. Has he done anything important, gone after some serious criminals that cause harm to the people of Virginia?

He better watch out. Its the uber-self righteous who are usually the ones to cheat on their wives, hit on the same-sex intern, or pass a note under the bathroom stall at the airport...

Posted by: 123cartoon | May 18, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The AG knows there is no fraud. This is a combination fishing expedition for emails that can be used out of context by global warming deniers, and a veiled warning to state universities in Virginia.

Posted by: krickey7 | May 18, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Once Cuckonelli finishes his global warming challenge I have a few more things he can look into:

the theory of relativity (Einstein was an immigrant after all)

dark matter (if Cuckonelli can't see it, it must not exist)

the speed of light (Cuckonelli with ticket it)

Posted by: Jimof1913 | May 18, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Leftists can't handle the truth. Press on Brother Cuccinelli..

Posted by: wewintheylose | May 18, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I remember when I considered moving to VA for its first rate education system. Those were the days. Now you can proudly walk into a starbucks with your gun on your hip, even if you are mentally ill, but if you are a scientist investigating scientific theory, you can be accused of fraud. Maybe he'll play fair and go after Intelligent Design advocates as well....

Posted by: mikey999 | May 18, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

What internal actions did UVa take to head off this external investigation? It should yield some good quotes... in context.

Posted by: blasmaic | May 18, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

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