I was shocked to see that the Virginia attorney general has filed papers against the climate researcher, Michael Mann. Mann had worked at the University of Virginia for 5 or 6 years, doing climate studies that cost the state about a half million dollars over that time. (To put that in perspective, that’s a middling sized grant; big biomedical researchers can get much more than that.) Cuccinelli is claiming that Mann committed fraud, and wants to demand all that money back.
There are no grounds to consider Mann to have committed any breach of ethics. The sole foundation for his legal attack is the hacked email messages from the CRU, which contained no nefarious revelations…other than that some scientists are really pissed off at clueless denialists like Cuccinelli. Most annoyingly, Mann was already subjected to an ethics review, again driven by people complaining about the CRU emails, and was completely absolved of any wrongdoing.
This is a witch hunt, nothing more. Cuccinelli is not pursuing a scientist because he did wrong, he is pursuing a scientist because he did not like the results he honestly got. He is using the law to take a political cheap shot with no basis in substance. That can only have a chilling effect, if carried out: apparently, the only results you are allowed to get at the University of Virginia are those that fit the preconceptions of conservative ideology. If anyone has acted unethically in this matter, it’s Virginia’s Attorney General.