05 October 2010

Cuccinelli is Back at It

When a Virginia court quashed state attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's attempt to pry loose decade-old emails from former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann, I expected that decision would be the end of the issue.  I was wrong.  Cuccinelli is back, according to the Washington Post, with a much reduced effort to get his hands on those emails.

I expect that Cuccinelli's request will again be turned down.  Just because Michael Mann's work is contested and perhaps even fatally flawed does not rise to the level of academic fraud.  Academics have every right to be wrong. Cuccinelli's fishing expedition should again return empty handed.


  1. No one really cares about Mann. I expect the Attorney General of Virgina doesn't care either.

    What people do care about is the EPA Endangerment finding which was based almost solely on the IPCC report.

    A reading of attachment B of the CID gives a pretty good indication as to where Cuccinelli wants to go.

  2. I think it's important for there to be an occasional look behind the curtain to engender trust in scientists who succor from the public dole. We really don't know Mann's intent. To assume innocent error and a right to be wrong is a bit premature. That's what investigations tend to sort.

  3. I pretty much predicted this when it was quashed originally because the court basically told Cuccinelli how to repair his submission for refiling. It was wishful thinking that it wouldn't.

    After reading the submission I predict that it will go forward, in a limited fashion. IE the court will allow the subpoena, but not the unlimited 'all the mails concerning or to the following', but instead limit it to those that were in reference to either the grant in question or any publications that were listed in the grant proposal.

    Roger, let me ask you something - it's really clear to me that academics in general and you in particular have a much different definition of fraud than the general public does. Let me give you a situation, and note that I'm not accusing Mann of any of this. Say that you had a researcher who had just flat explicitly made up data, Bellisles-style, for some research, and then used that research as the basis of a state grant. Folks start looking into it and discover discrepancies. Could the AG investigate that?

  4. Where is the experimental data to back up either the Greenhouse gas effect or the Michael Mann "back forcing" of IR radiation? Without either theses are just Hypothesis. Where are the heat transfer equations to show how much Heating is caused by any given level of CO2 in the atmosphere? There is a lot of hyp about CO2 causing these great changes in climate but where is the proof?
    Definitions of the Climate Discussion
    What is Climate?
    Definition:A few thousand weather days end to end for a specific location.
    How many climates are there in the world?
    Every part of the country and the world has a unique climate -the south of France, the North slope of Alaska, the heart of Africa, the northeast Great Lakes region of the US ,the north of Italy, the south of Italy,thousands of different climates etc.
    What is weather?
    The atmospheric conditions where you are.
    Can mankind control the weather?
    We have tried for thousands of years from the Indian rainmaker, to the cloud seeders of the 1950-60. Man can not control the weather, then how the hell can man be controlling the climate. This whole B.S of MANN-made global warming is a fairy tale. The MANNipulation of temperature data is a crime against humanity and these criminals should be put in jail.
    If the work of Michael Mann is above question -Why is it being hidden? It should be available for other scientists to review and either replicate or show where it is in error!
    If The University of Virginia or Penn State continue to hide this information SCIENCE IS BACK IN THE DARK AGES OF ALCHOMY.

  5. The EPA Endangerment finding could be based on NAS reports as much as the IPCC, and none of it is particularly impacted by the hockey stick stuff.

    I think that Cuccinelli just wants to be a conservative hero, maybe run for higher office, or get on the lucrative conservative lecture circuit.

    I wonder if Wegman has commented on Cuccinelli's witch-hunt.

  6. The point is did Mann knowingly use his flawed information to garner funds for research. It has always been about his intent, and I hope Cuccinelli finds the smoking gun. Lord knows Mann and his cohorts have thrown up enough roadblocks to qualify as a detour on Google maps.

  7. Roger's commentary on this is welcome, but he doesn't make it clear *just* how stupid and dangerous Cuccinelli's actions are. Which might explain the inaninity of some of the comments, above. For a fuller explanation read our take on it at RealClimate: here, and Joe Romm's take on our take, along with a bit of history here.

    --Eric Steig

  8. The Washington Post has this factoid:

    "To defend itself from Mr. Cuccinelli's investigation into the distribution of a $214,700 research grant, the University of Virginia has spent $350,000, with more to come, and that doesn't count the taxpayer funds Mr. Cuccinelli is devoting to this cause."

  9. Eric --7

    What I find inane are arguments like yours that rely on emotive judgments rather than facts that have yet to see the light of day. The investigation is about revealing those facts that may cut for or against Dr. Mann.

  10. -Craig 1st

    I prefer the phrase "presumed" innocent.

  11. "Presumed innocent" doesn't prevent investigation, it just puts the burden of proof on the prosecutor. He has the right to look for proof within the bounds of the law. If the judge decides he has the right based on the new filing, then he has the legal right, end of story. Plenty of legally right things happen that may not agree with our personal feelings.

    Law isn't just about punishment, it is about prevention. The cost of the legal proceeding shouldn't only be weighed against the original cost of the grant, it should be weighed against the effect that the outcome has on future law, how it is enforced, and how it is followed. If these activities infringe on the rights of scientists in the future, then the judge is as responsible as Cuccinelli.

  12. -11-Tamara

    Sure, but the problem in this case is that not only is there no "proof" there is also no "reasonable cause" to suspect fraud.

    I'll grant you fudge and a nasty demeanor, but these are not fraud. (There was a long discussion of fudge vs. fraud here:

    The latest CID provides no evidence of fraud either, certainly nothing even close to a "reasonable cause" standard. (If Cuccinelli had a better case then he wouldn't be invoking that "post-normal" nonsense!;-)

  13. WUWT grants D Patterson Comment of the Week:

    Little more needs to be said: let´s see if Justice is served.

  14. They do not need "reasonable cause". They should be able to walk in anywhere and check out what they are doing with OUR money. Anytime, night or day. The IRS does not need "reasonable cause". They audit people all of the time.

    You don't like the scrutiny, then don't take public money. You take public money, then you should put it all out there on the table. The moment the question is asked. If that's not the way the law is written, then it should be changed expeditiously.

    The state of Virginia should be able to walk into any area of the university's activities, any time and take a look around. Just to look see. Anytime. Any records except student records that are private by federal law. Any financial transaction. Any data. Any reports. Any equipment bought or excessed. Anyone who was hired and why. This is just totally ridiculous and everyone knows it but no one will stand up and say so.

  15. Apparently* Keenan sent Cuccinelli's people a copy of the HSI... they may even have read it.

    [*] post at the Bishop's