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The attorney general's misguided investigation

More than 800 scientists speak out

More than 800 scientists and academics in Virginia, including nearly 300 from the University of Virginia (UVA), sent a letter (pdf) to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, urging him to drop his investigation of former UVA Professor Michael Mann's scientific research.

Click here if you are a Virginia scientist or academic leader who would like to sign the letter.

Should the Virginia Attorney General to comb through a scientist's emails, paper drafts, and even handwritten notes, searching for evidence of misconduct because he doesn't agree with the scientist's writings or research results?

That's what's happening right now to a scientist in Virginia. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has effectively subpoenaed all information related to five grants received through the University of Virginia by climate change researcher Dr. Michael Mann, citing a Virginia law that prohibits fraud against taxpayers. The notion of labeling scientific findings as “fraudulent” sets a disturbing precedent for attacking peer-reviewed science in the legal system. Disagreement among scientists--to say nothing of disagreements between scientists and politicians--is simply not the same thing as fraud.

The action by the attorney general is an escalation of recent attacks on climate science and scientists and could significantly hamper the ability of scientists to learn more about the world around us.

UVA has until Thursday, May 27, to decide whether it will contest the attorney general’s supoena.

More information is available here.

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