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UPDATED: U-Va. once again asks judge to set aside Cuccinelli subpoena

Rosalind Helderman

The University of Virginia has asked a judge to stay a subpoena by state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli seeking documents related to a former climate science professor while the Virginia Supreme Court weighs in on Cuccinelli's efforts.

The school already had signaled it planned to fight Cuccinelli's latest efforts to get e-mails and files about global warming researcher Michael Mann, who worked at the school from 1999 to 2005.

The university successfully fended off an initial attempt by Cuccinelli to get the documents when an Albermarle Circuit Court judge ruled that Cuccinelli's civil investigative demand had failed to state why he needed the documents. Cuccinelli has said he wants to see whether an investigation into whether Mann committed fraud as he sought state money for research is warranted.

Cuccinelli has appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court and meanwhile rewritten a new civil investigative demand. In court filings submitted late Wednesday, U-Va. submitted a new petition asking the judge to set aside Cuccinelli's latest civil investigative demand.

The university's lawyers also said the judge should stay Cuccinelli's latest demand while courts consider his appeal. They say doing so would save time and money. If granted, the issue would be unlikely to be resolved until after Jan. 1, a university spokesman said.

The university writes in its latest filings that Cuccinelli is targeting Mann because he disagrees with his findings--that the earth has experienced recent, rapid warming.The school says his effort represents "an unprecedented and improper governmental intrusion into ongoing scientific research" that would violate academic freedom.

The university's new court action earned them praise from the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Scientists are proud of UVA for standing up to this relentless rubbish," said Francesca Grifo, director of UCS's Scientific Integrity Program, in a statement.

Mann, now a professor at Pennsylvania State University, also thanked the school. "I'm pleased that University of Virginia has chosen to continue to stand up to Mr. Cuccinelli and his misguided witch hunt," he said.

We've reached out to Cuccinelli's office for response and we'll let you know if they respond.

UPDATE 2:21 p.m.: Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein said the attorney generla's lawyers will oppose the stay. "The attorney general's office wrote the new CID to be consistent with the judge's ruling in August. We see no reason why the CID should not be complied with, because the judge stated that there is no First Amendment bar (ie. academic freedom) that prevents the attorney general from looking into Dr. Mann's work documents at UVa," Gottstein said in a statement. 

"The emails and documents requested are all property belonging to the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The CID seeks none of Mann's private documents," he added.

By Rosalind Helderman  | October 21, 2010; 1:27 PM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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The AG is taking this action he claims to uphold the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, FATA. My question is who can take a similar action against the AG for violation of FATA? The Virginia AG is doing the bidding of one of his larger campaign contributor, Koch Industries, who is demanding that the Virginia AG make sure that scientists will be afraid to continue working in the area of climate and atmospheric analysis. Therefore, the Virginia AG should be investigated for FATA. His use of taxpayers dollars to further the political agenda of Koch Industries makes a prima facia case for fraud against taxpayers in Virginia.

Posted by: peter49 | October 21, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

As scientists, I would encourage them to investigate Cucinelli's motivations. I also ask scientists to send Cucinellli copies of Mann's research. It should be plain and simple to understand. This is nothing but a Koch enterprises and Cucinelli witch hunt.

Posted by: fmamstyle | October 21, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Good to see I our tax dollars investigating our institution of higher learning. We should discourage any research that will disprove that the world is flat. forget Des Carte Cuccinelli says there for it is

Posted by: scootab22 | October 21, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Cucinelli is abusing the power of his office. He should be held accountable.

Posted by: georgei22 | October 21, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

If UVa had taken any sort of scholarly or administration action to assure the integrity of Mann's research, then none of this would be needed. As it turned out, they knew Mann was coaching colleagues on how to cook the data and yet did nothing.

Students bludgeoning one another to death and employees killing themselves at work pale in comparison to politicized science.

Posted by: blasmaic | October 21, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, Cucinelli is trying to kill healthcare, make sure that Gay employees at the VA universities don't have any rights and the he's got a vendetta out against proponents of Global Warming....typical Republican, no concept of moving forward, only back to the 50's. He is an embarrassment to Virginia.

Posted by: POd2 | October 21, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

The Attorney General's dad is a former marketing executive of the American Gas Association. The dad is now an executive with a marketing/advertising/consulting company that touts his experience marketing natural gas and his "European" clients.

I would like Cuccinelli to tell us if the dad has clients who are gas companies, perhaps even Russian gas companies. The Russian gas companies are buying up politicians in Europe and they sponsor propaganda against our scientists and the science of global warming.

The dad's company gave Cuccinelli over 96,000 dollars.

Perhaps the elder Cuccinelli formally gets paid for his professional services but in reality is getting paid for providing "European" clients with the services of our Attorney General.

Here is what I found out, but Cuccinelli's deputy W. Russell won't answer my questions about his dad's clients even though I have written repeatedly.

Congressman Curt Weldon's daughter
was paid 500,000 in "consulting fees" by the Russian gas company Itera, but her dad was a shill for Itera during this time.

I am Republican and I voted for Cuccinelli, but now I see that he is not representing me. There is noting conservative about persecuting our greatest scientists, abusing the justice system, and destroying the environment.

Cuccinelli is a subversive, not a conservative. I am only voting for Democrats, although I always used to vote Republican.

Posted by: crascal | October 21, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I think the FBI should also investigate how Cuccinelli’s family profits from the gas industry. I think Attorney General Cuccinelli is the greedy "moneybags" who is perpetrating a "hoax,"not the college professor Dr. Mann and the other climate scientists who work in government and academia.

Cuccinelli seems to have hijacked the AG office and is using it for his family's financial benefit. He is using my tax money to persecute the great climate scientist Dr. Mann on trumped-up fraud charges. It is disgusting, immoral, and perhaps illegal.

Attorney General Cuccinelli is Catholic, and the Vatican has asked the U.N. to fight global warming. Students in Catholic educational institutions read about global warming in their science textbooks because it is good science and because Christians are supposed to be stewards of the earth and protect God's creation. Are science teachers in Catholic educational institutions teaching lies about global warming? Is the Pope also a greedy liar who is perpetrating a hoax?

Perhaps Cuccinelli would like to use his power to force Virginia's public schools to teach the fossil fuel-inspired junk science about the "hoax" of global warming; but Catholic educational institutions will continue to teach the science of global warming, not the propaganda spread by Kremlin moneybags and the fossil fuel industry's political operatives.

Posted by: crascal | October 21, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes more liberal people believe the propaganda that religious people don't believe in climate change. Many large denominations believe that climate change is a social justice issue.

Cuccinelli is Catholic and might want to listen to what the Vatican and the scientists say about global warming instead of parotting the propaganda of the the Russian petrostate.

Cuccinelli's criticism of the EPA even cited an article in RIA Novosti (the official Press agency of the Russian Government!) by a former Putin economic adviser Andrei Illarionov. Illarionov also used to work for Chernomyrdin, the head of the Soviet Gas Ministry (now Gazprom).

I think Illarionov is still working for Russian gas interests, but he disguises his propaganda as "Libertarianism."

It was really shocking to read this brief which lectured the EPA with global warming denialist propaganda from the official Russian press agency RIA Novosti.

The Russian line may have changed, however, because this summer President Medvedev was quoted in this same RIA Novosti saying that global warming is real. He said this while our "greedy" scientists at NASA were helping the Russians locate all those forest fires.

Cuccinelli should not cite RIA Novosti for his science, but only for the party line. This brief to the EPA was written by his deputy W. Russell.

I don't think the EPA is too impressed by science according to RIA Novosti or Putin's former aid Andrei Illarionov.

Recently the Pope visited the UK.
The climate and energy secretary, Chris Huhne, met the Vatican's expert on climate change, Cardinal Turkson and they had a good talk.

The Foreign office Office said that the Pope's visit would "reposition the issue of climate change not just as a matter of economics and energy security, but also one of social justice, stewardship of the natural world and of fundamental import to the peaceful coexistence of man."

I don't think Cuccinelli cares about those Catholic issues. He is only defending the fossil fuel companies and spouting Russian propaganda about how our "greedy" scientists are perpetrating a hoax.

Cuccinelli sounds like Medvedev before the fires.

When he was in Tomsk last winter, Medvedev claimed that global warming was some “some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects.” At least for the moment, President Medvedev has changed his tune about the "tricky campaign" of global warming.

I think that investigative journalists and the authorities such as the FBI should look into the Cuccinelli family’s financial interests because I think there may be a conflict of interest. I think Attorney General Cuccinelli is probably using Virginia's AG office to advance his family’s financial interests.

To paraphrase the former GAZPROM CEO President Medvedev, I think global warming denialism is “some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects.”

Posted by: crascal | October 21, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

"The scientific evidence for global warming and for humanity’s role in the increase of greenhouse gasses becomes ever more unimpeachable, as the IPCC findings are going to suggest; and such activity has a profound relevance, not just for the environment, but in ethical, economic, social and political terms as well. The consequences of climate change are being felt not only in the environment, but in the entire socio-economic system and, as seen in the findings of numerous reports already available, they will impact first and foremost the poorest and weakest who, even if they are among the least responsible for global warming, are the most vulnerable because they have limited resources or live in areas at greater risk...Many of the most vulnerable societies, already facing energy problems, rely upon agriculture, the very sector most likely to suffer from climatic shifts."---Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, H.E. MSGR. Celestino Migliore (5-10-07)

Posted by: crascal | October 21, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

It has been well known that global warming is a complete research fraud. Take note that these "scientists" are mostly backed by liberal organizations that are merely groveling for grant dollars. When mankind only produces 11 one hundredths of one percent of all co2 and temps have actually dropped for the past decade, you'd swear the enviromentals with next to no knowledge in climatology are trying to sell us a used car.

Posted by: hoytc55 | October 21, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Mann has many degrees from UCLA and Yale. He is a real scientist who won the Nobel prize for his work on climate change.

All the real scientific organizations say that global warming is happening.

The Vatican says global warming is happening. The CIA and Pentagon are preparing for the disasters that are coming due to global warming.

The fossil fuel companies and the Russians sponsor fake "scientific" institutes to confuse people, but Cuccinelli's expert "scientist" Dr. Wegman is being investigated for research fraud.

The Russians, who can now navigate their northern waters and who notice their permafrost is thawing, know perfectly well there is global warming, but they want to sell their natural gas.
They don't want us to develop renewable energy sources that don't give off CO2.

Cuccinelli got 55,000 dollars from a Florida criminal "Bobby Thompson" who is wanted for theft and money laundering. I think this criminal wanted Cuccinelli to use his influence to put "consumer affairs" which regulates charities, under the AG office. This criminal had a fake Navy Veterans' charity. He didn't want to have to register it.

Cuccinelli got 96,000 from his father, a career gas lobbyist with "European" clients, for his campaign.

Cuccinelli serves his father's clients, I suspect, although the AG office will not tell me if the elder Cuccinelli has fossil fuel companies among his US or "European" (Russian?) clients.

If a person is a successful gas lobbyist with "European" clients, chances are good his clients are Russian gas companies.

I voted for Cuccinelli, but I will be voting all Democrat this time. The Republicans aren't getting my vote until they stop persecuting our scientists and making up fake science for their fossil fuel patrons.

They are really endangering our health, our national security, our justice system, and our best scholars and teachers.

Some denialists are even pressuring Catholic institutions, which teach the science of global warming.

They are calling and claiming that they "work for the Pentagon" and that global warming is a "hoax."

The Pentagon is preparing for global warming, so these people may be Cuccinelli's political operatives.

The operatives must think the teachers are as stupid as the bloggers they fool. Teachers know that the Pentagon doesn't think global warming is a "hoax."

Educators who follow this controversy know that the Russian propaganda says global warming is a hoax. And Fox News, of course.

Pravda even quoted Fox News on the "hoax" of global warming.

The Kremlin-financed satellite channel Russia Today spreads denialist propaganda. The Russian LUKoil also paid for the translation of a denialist manifesto published by the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus.

This is not rocket science. Just read the Russian media. It sounds like FOX News.

Catholic educational institutions get their science from real scientists and our guidance from the Vatican.

Posted by: crascal | October 23, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I don’t think Cuccinelli and his ridiculous deputy W. Russell make George Mason Law School graduates look very intelligent.

In his suit to the EPA, W. Russell quoted Putin’s former adviser, the economist Andrei Illarionov as evidence against the EPA.

Illarionov used to work for Chernomyrdin, the head of the Soviet Gas Ministry, now Gazporom.

Since when do US agencies take advice from Kremlin mouthpieces?

W. Russell actually cited what Illarionov said in RIA Novosti, the official press agency of the Russian government! Illarionov is probably still working for the Russian petrostate, even though he sometimes criticizes them from his "think tank." People who really have a “falling out” with Putin, as Illarionov claims, don’t get to publish in RIA Novosti.

I laughed when W. Russell wrote this moronic observation in his suit against the EPA:

“On December 15, 2009—the very day that EPA announced the Endangerment Finding—the Russian Institute of Economic Analysis (“IEA”) reported that CRU probably tampered with Russian climate data and that the Russian meteorological station data do not support human-caused global warming……”

The IEA probably acted on the “very day that the EPA announced the Endangerment Finding” because they are really an outpost of the Russian government’s propaganda apparatus/state security. It would be funny if it weren’t so stupid.

During the forest fires, the Kremlin line changed, and RIA Novosti quoted President Medvedev said global warming was happening. Medvedev made this frank admission while NASA was helping the Russians locate over 500 forest fires. However, last winter in Tomsk, Medvedev, the former CEO of GAZPROM, said that global warming was a “trick.”

Earth to W. Russell: One reads RIA Novosti for the party line, not accurate science.

The Kremlin probably had to change the line because we were helping locate those fires and a moronic Russian "scholar" named Andrei Areshev embarrassed them by writing in RIA Novosti that our crafty climate scientists were CAUSING global warming by beaming secret climate weapons at certain countries.

That was plastered all over the Internet on conspiracist sites.

Since W. Russell quotes RIA Novosti as an authoritative source, will he now accuse our scientists of CAUSING global warming with secret climate weapons?

Cuccinelli should be recalled for persecuting scientists. He should be investigated by the FBI to see if he is getting money from foreign entities.

Cuccinelli is calling on us to rise up against the Federal government, but I recall that we revolted against the stooges of a foreign tyrant.

Posted by: crascal | October 23, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Another poster wrote:

"It has been well known that global warming is a complete research fraud. Take note that these "scientists" are mostly backed by liberal organizations that are merely groveling for grant dollars."

This sentiment is published in the Russian tabloid Pravda.

The author is the 9-11 Truther G. Fegel who believes that George Bush masterminded the attack on the World Trade Center.

These are the kind of morons who don't believe what the scientists are telling us about global warming.

Pravda morons are still trying to debunk global warming with folksey anecdotes about Chukchi people. These anecdotes are the Russian version of "Polish jokes."

Posted by: crascal | October 23, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

The scientific method demands that scientists be open in their scientific work. We have theories. We put them out there for everyone to see and throw stones at. We try to decide if they are true. We do not try to protect our theories. We try to find the truth. If Mann did not follow the scientific method, I want to know about it.
If universities want to be known for GOOD SCIENCE, then they should be totally open about that science.
I would not attend, or encourage my children to attend, a university that did not stand by the scientific method 100%.
U-Va, this is a call for you to stand-down.

Posted by: cuftpermin | October 23, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Cuccinelli is not a scientist. He is a politician whose father is a natural gas lobbyist, and the father's company gave Cuccinelli's campaign over 96,000 dollars. Cuccinelli is probably serving his father's clients, not the gullible people (like me) who voted for him. We don't know who those clients are and what services the elder Cuccinelli provided for them. I think the clients probably paid for the services of our meretricious Attorney General.

Cuccinelli makes his case against climate science by mischaracterizing emails that were stolen and posted on a Russian server in Tomsk, a city famous for its "patriotic hackers."

Cuccinelli can't say one thing that would be probable cause to get Dr. Mann's emails. He just wants those emails so he can twist them into something gullible people will believe.
His one evidence was the "controversial" hockey stick paper on his CV. Other scientists have replicated this hocley stick pattern.

Mann's work is published for everyone to read and has been thoroughly vetted by scientific organizations. He has multiple degrees from UCLA and Yale. He won a Nobel Prize.

Why should Cuccinelli, a politician in the pockets of his own father and the indicted thief and money launderer, Bobby Thompson, judge him?

Cuccinelli is using the "Wegman Report" for evidence, and Wegman is being investigated by George Mason University for research misconduct.

Wegman seems to have put his name to a transparently dishonest fabrication organized by Congressman Joe Barton, the Texas Congressman who apologized to British Petroleum because Obama made them put money in an escrow account to help the people who lost their jobs after the oil spill. Barton called this "extortion."

I think that Cuccinelli should be kicked out of office, disbarred, and investigated by the FBI to see if he is getting money from domestic and foreign fossil fuel interests to do their bidding.

I was always Republican, but now I see what they are. They are liars who use their positions to persecute scientists, don't care about the dangers of climate change, and only care about getting money from those big fossil fuel companies.

Cuccinelli talks about a revolution; well, I am revolting (peacefully) against him!

He tries to frame our greatest scientists who are warning us about global warming but he won't answer the voters' questions about where his money is coming from.

I think these Republicans are very subersive of our rights and our children's futures. I am ashamed that I was so gullible and uninformed that I voted for them.

Cuccinelli's dad has "European" clients. Since he is a gas lobbyist, that may mean Russian gas companies, but this is not known and Cuccinelli won't reveal this information. That's who runs Russia--Gazprom and the KGB.

It is against the law for a state or federal politician to take campaign contributions from foreigners. These days, however, such contributions can be disguised as "professional services."

Posted by: crascal | October 24, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Russian gas keeps Europe warm and this makes Russia very powerful.

Through its maze of front companies in Europe, Russia's Gazprom funnels money to the campaigns of politicians and political parties that promote Russia's political interests in those countries.

These politicians the Russians are buying are not on the left. They are politicians who are advocates for fossil fuel interests---like our Republicans.

Gazprom is more than half owned by the Russian government, and they are basically part of the government. They have to do what they are told to stay in business.

Like our fossil fuel companies, the Russian government sponsors global warming denialism because they don't want people to develop renewable energy sources.

The Kremlin-financed satellite channel Russia Today puts on denialists such as Lord Monckton and the CATO institute Libertarian named Pat Michaels. They are English-speakers so Americans will not identify them with Russian interests. You can see them on the RT (Russia Today) shows on Youtube.

The Czech politician Vaclav Klaus published a book denouncing global warming and Al Gore. The Russian LUKoil paid for it to be translated. This is public information.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes:

Unlike Western firms, which lobby largely in their own interests, Russian state-controlled and private enterprises play an integral role in Kremlin foreign policy, and they're 'undoubtedly influencing the behavior of various Czech political parties and politicians,' [former President Vaclav] Havel said in an interview. 'I've seen several cases where the influence started quietly and slowly began projecting onto our foreign policy. I can only advise serious discretion and great caution."---RFE/RL (9-25-10)

That's why I think we need an investigation into the sources of Cuccinelli's funding and complete transparency about his gas lobbyist dad's clients.

Everyone should write Cuccinelli's office and ask what is going on. I keep writing Cuccinelli's deputy W. Russell, but he ignores MY EMAILS!

I thought Cuccinelli loved reading other folks emails and commenting on them!

Now I am just an ordinary Republican, and I voted for Cuccinelli; but the lights came on for me when I saw the Russian propaganda about Climategate and noticed that Cuccinelli's dad, a gas lobbyist, has "European" clients.

Here is what I found out. Why won't Cuccinelli explain all this?

Maybe others will email W. Russell...especially you Republicans. He should answer your questions if you, like me, voted for him.

Cuccinelli says that Obama is like King George. I didn't vote for Obama, but he's not a foreign tyrant. Americans rebelled against a foreign tyrant.

So I am thinking maybe I will revolt against Cuccinelli--peacefully and legally, of course.

Posted by: crascal | October 24, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

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