State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, R-Fairfax County, gestures as he challenges a ruling by Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine during the Senate Session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday April 6, 2005. Cuccinelli attempted a proceedural manuver in an attempt to strip Sen. Russell Potts of his committee assignments for his independent Republican bid for governor. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia’s attorney general is turning up the heat on one former University of Virginia professor over his research on climate change.
Ken Cuccinelli is demanding papers from the school as part of his investigation into that professor, Michael Mann. Cuccinelli wants to know if Mann manipulated data to help secure taxpayer dollars for his research.
Mann, who now works at Penn State University, insists that his work is legitimate. He also thinks that the attorney general -- a longtime critic of climate change -- is using his authority improperly.
“It seems highly vindictive,” Mann told the Associated Press. “It seems clearly to me that it’s an attempt to intimidate and to silence me and to make an example of me for other scientists who might speak out on the science of climate change.”
Cuccinelli has not yet commented on the controversy, but his spokesman has. Brian Gottstein is defending the investigation. He says it’s necessary after a controversy last year, when hundreds of e-mails surfaced that climate-change opponents claim prove scientists are exaggerating the threat of global warming.
“If ‘Climategate’ never came to light,” Gottstein said. “This investigation would never be happening.”