For Release: October 4, 2010
For media inquiries only, contact: Brian J. Gottstein
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (best contact method)
Attorney General Cuccinelli issues new civil investigative demand for UVa/Mann documents
RICHMOND (October 4, 2010) – Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today that consistent with Judge Paul M. Peatross, Jr.'s August 30 ruling, his office reissued a civil investigative demand (CID) on September 29 to the University of Virginia. The new CID has been drafted to comply with the judge's ruling, contains information the judge believed was necessary, and is more limited in scope than the prior CIDs. The CID will attempt to obtain information necessary to continue an investigation into whether or not fraud was committed against the commonwealth by Dr. Michael Mann while he was a professor at UVa.
“While the CID was drafted to comply with the judge's ruling, we do not believe that the ruling was correct in all of its particulars. Accordingly, we have noted that we will appeal the ruling while continuing our ongoing investigation,” said Cuccinelli.
In his ruling, Judge Peatross agreed with the attorney general’s argument – and UVa conceded in court – 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. The emails and documents requested by the original and the new CID are all property belonging to the Commonwealth of Virginia. The CID seeks none of Mann’s private emails or documents.
Through the CID process and the court hearing, UVa admitted that it did have at least some of Mann’s emails and other documents, even though under previous FOIA requests, the university said that it did not.
The attorney general’s office is investigating whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant prosecuting Mann under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA). If Mann knowingly used research containing manipulated or deceitful data to obtain taxpayer-funded research grants, he could be liable under FATA.
Cuccinelli stated several reasons why he is moving forward with his investigation:
- In his ruling, Judge Peatross stated that, “...the University of Virginia is a proper subject for a CID, and the Attorney General may investigate grants made with Commonwealth of Virginia funds to professors such as Dr. Mann.”
- Dr. Mann’s Hockey Stick graph is based on suspect data. Others have shown that random numbers can be put into Mann’s algorithm, and they always produce a hockey stick graph.
- The Muir Russell report from the University of East Anglia itself said that a process that Mann had used – later termed the “trick” to “hide the decline” in Mann’s graph (splicing data from different sources) – was potentially misleading.
- If a private vendor were alleged to have submitted false receipts to a state agency for reimbursement, the attorney general would use FATA to investigate. This situation is no different.
“In general, we do not discuss ongoing investigations,” said Cuccinelli. “We are issuing this statement in response to inquiries resulting from the CID becoming public and in response to incomplete information in the public realm.”
Cuccinelli has limited the CID to the emails and documents related to one state grant Mann received.
The attorney general is the sole official charged with enforcing Virginia’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.
The case is The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia v. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II, Attorney General of Virginia.
A copy of this news release may be found on the website of the Attorney General of Virginia at www.vaag.com.
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