the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Above the Law

Posted by Jeff Id on January 18, 2011

Most will notice that I’ve not been blogging this week. There really isn’t any time but Cuccinelli is now being given a new hurdle to uncover Mann’s emails. Virginia senators are considering changing law to prevent Mann’s private emails from being read.  First the university claims they don’t exist, then as it is found that the emails do exist “friends of Mann” spend a half million dollars to make sure nobody can see them.  Now Mann has enough friends in (leftist) government that they would change the law to protect his emails from being read.

Think about that!  I’m tired of government funded corruption and lies and the parties which revel in it.  How incredibly deep does the corruption extend. Even if you think your favorite politician is doing a good job, giving these  people more power is insane.

This is how Brian McKenzie ends his thougtful piece linked above.

“There are 50 scientific organizations in 50 countries all around the world that came to the same conclusion,” Toscano said. “This is really an inappropriate use of tax dollars.”

Very thoughtful Brian, nice work.

H/T Bishop Hill and WUWT

106 Responses to “Above the Law”

  1. kim said

    The interests of the University of Virginia and that of the Piltdown Mann and his Private Puppeteers diverge, and that will make all the difference.
    =================

  2. Jeff Id said

    Kim,

    I like the optimism/realism but if the university feels they have enough support, they may stick it out.

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Science Blog News, C Jenkins. C Jenkins said: Above the Law http://goo.gl/fb/hZya8 [...]

  4. What’s the principle here? Whose emails should be made available to state AG’s to rifle through? Everyone’s? Scientists? All academics? Or just Mann?

  5. Michael Mann is but a pawn in a game that involves world leaders and leaders of the scientific community.

    If full information were revealed, the scandal would move up the “chain of command of public funds.”

    The public would learn that Earth is heated by a neutron star, far beyond the control of politicians.

    President Eisenhower warned about the dangers of this abuse of government science in 1961.

  6. kim said

    Easy, Nick. Just the emails of those entities acting as a black hole of information. And I like ‘rifle through’. Yep, the Sheriff is in town.

    Jeff, Mann’s interests are narrow, the University’s are broad. We’ll soon gauge the interests of the Hidden Ones.
    ==============

  7. Geoff Sherrington said

    Nick,

    The principle is to establish if funds were obtained by misrepresentation of scientific data. The end.

  8. kuhnkat said

    Nick Stokes,

    Everyone’s e-mails who handle and root at the trough of public funds.

    Technically though, whomever is covered by appropriate laws.

  9. kuhnkat said

    Nick Stokes,

    maybe your side should be out there proposing realistic methods to audit those who are utilizing public funds for their work? It would give you at least a little bit of cred and steal a march on those of us who might make the terms quite onerous.

  10. Artifex said

    Nick says:

    What’s the principle here? Whose emails should be made available to state AG’s to rifle through? Everyone’s? Scientists? All academics? Or just Mann?

    I believe the general principle is that if you do work on an entities dime, they own emails transmitted on their equipment, during time they are paying for or about the content they have paid to create.

  11. Geoff,
    The End? Well, not quite. Who says? Any state AG can say he doesn’t like your science so he wants to look through all your emails?

    KK,
    Whomever is covered by appropriate laws? Well, who makes the laws? This posts is complaining that state legislators in trying to change the law are putting themselves (or someone) above the law.

    But I think your proposition that everyone who handles public funds has to make their enails available to state pols won’t fly. And the notion of auditing use of public funds is hardly new. It isn’t usually done, though, by AG’s going through emails.

    Artifex,
    yes, the entity here is UVa. And they are resisting handing over to the AG. So far, they have been winning in court.

  12. [...] Above the Law « the Air Vent [...]

  13. dearieme said

    @Oliver: impressive from Ike.

  14. Geoff Sherrington said

    Nick, I’d love to see you trying to talk your way out of a speeding ticket from a busy traffic cop. I mean, this exercise is about as bleeding obvious as that. I think you know that. The end, squared.

  15. Manniac said

    Nick,
    So UVa shouldn’t have released Pat Michael’s emails after a FOI request from an enviromental NGO either?

  16. Adam Gallon said

    Nick
    What’s the difference between the release of Pat Michael’s e-mails and those of MM?
    The principle is, that public money has been used to fund his research, there’s some evidence that these funds have not been used properly.
    http://www.climate-gate.org/email.php?eid=332&s=tag73

    From: “Mick Kelly”
    To: Nguyen Huu Ninh (cered@xxxxxxxxx.xxx)
    Subject: NOAA funding
    Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 14:17:15 +0000

    Ninh
    NOAA want to give us more money for the El Nino work with IGCN.
    How much do we have left from the last budget? I reckon most has been spent but we need to show some left to cover the costs of the trip Roger didn’t make and also the fees/equipment/computer money we haven’t spent otherwise NOAA will be suspicious.
    Politically this money may have to go through Simon’s institute but there overhead rate is high so maybe not!
    Best wishes
    Mick

    That the University first claimed that they didn’t hold any e-mails, then admitted they did & spent $500k on not releasing them, then this idea of changing the laws so the e-mails don’t have to be released, does lead one to think
    “Exactly what is being hidden here?”
    It doesn’t exactly give one confidence in the science, if the men behind it are acting so poorly.

  17. steveta_uk said

    Nick, it’s normal policy for most commercial companies to allow employees limited use email for personal reasons, but with the quite clear understanding that there is no right of privacy, and that anything involving work product belongs to your employer.

    The university is the employer in this case, and it could argue that is was contracted to carry out the research, and as with any such relationship, the client doesn’t automatically have rights of access to internal documents.

    So the argument is between Cuccinelli and the University – Mann has no say in it whatsoever.

  18. #15, #16 – what exactly were the Michaels’ documents released by UVa? Did he object?

    Has UVa refused a FOI application for the Mann emails? Why didn’t Cucci try that route?

    #17 So the argument is between Cuccinelli and the University Indeed so.

    But my question remains – what’s the principle here? Do the good libertarian folks at this blog really want State AG’s to have the right to demand all academic’s emails?

  19. On that Michaels’ emails story, the SPPI blog says

    “According to Greenpeace, the only documents UVA released were Michaels’ CV and a spreadsheet listing three grants.”

  20. Bart said

    Jeff,

    Aren’t you tired of your tax money being used for a witch hunt like this? The legal costs on both sides are in the end mostly tax money I’d think. What a farce!

  21. Frank K. said

    Between UVa and Mann trying to avoid Cuccinelli’s probe, NOAA’s Tom Peterson talking about “knife fights”, and Jim Hansen going completely berserk trying to get the Chinese to save us from global warming, it’s been a bad week for “the team”….

  22. kim said

    Bart demonstrates that it is almost impossible to be more wrong than he. Yes, what a farce.
    ========================

  23. Jeff Id said

    Nick and Bart,

    I don’t like what Cucci is doing and have stated that from the beginning. I don’t believe this is a witch hunt though, but rather that Cucci is a one man conspiracy to release Mann’s emails to the public. My guess is that he understood climategate, as any sane person does, and its deeper implications. There is a lot of scamming going on in climate science behind closed doors, and Mann has been very active in those scams. I think Mann believes it is all for the greater good, as most leftists do, but scams are scams.

    He probably thinks that if he can obtain Mann’s emails and climategate looks like a fart in a hurricane. Whether they pertain to VA law or not, he can discuss them.

    What is freaking me out now is the incredible amount of money being dumped into Mann’s defense from unknown sources and how far up the chain they have now gone just to prevent an already obvious advocate from being exposed. If people felt Bart was part of the scam and were after his emails, do you think that even TEN thousand would be spent to prevent it??? Mann is at a half million already.

    Who is so interested in those emails remaining hidden that they would bring them to the attention of democratic VA senators to actually change the law!! This is quite obviously a very big deal to some very powerful and wealthy left-wing interests and at this point a rational person has to wonder why.

  24. Black Sabbath said

    Limbaugh was correct when he called the four corners of deceit:

    science
    academia
    government
    media

  25. Frank K. said

    “Mann is at a half million already.”

    Really? Wow! The Climate Ca$h is really flowing these days…

  26. Artifex said

    But my question remains – what’s the principle here? Do the good libertarian folks at this blog really want State AG’s to have the right to demand all academic’s emails?

    I stated what I thought was an excellent principle above. You believe that UAV acting in an unprincipled manner somehow is an answer to my point ? Look, if the project is funded privately, I have no rights at all to get those emails and would support Mann’s right under the 5th to protect them. Have one of the progressive organizations in front of whom he gives press releases fund him and we are all good.

    If he takes state cash those correspondences, are owned by the state and must be available to the owners ( who would be either the people of the US or Virginia depending on who is actually funding it)

    Now before you go off on “that’s not the way it works”. I point out that I understand this. This is happening in the real world and any place you get progressives or lawyers into the mix principles go out the window pretty quick. You ask for a principle, there it is.

    If this is done under state funding, all materials are property of the state

  27. Carrick said

    Nick Stokes:

    What’s the principle here? Whose emails should be made available to state AG’s to rifle through? Everyone’s? Scientists? All academics? Or just Mann?

    The main guiding principle is that the emails don’t belong to the employee by his employer, UVa, just as mine belong to my employer. As such, they may be regarded as confidential information owned by UVa.

    From my point of view, if the Virginia AG were to subpoena emails from UVa as part of an investigation, it’s a no-brainer that the UVa should comply. However, that route by default leaves the emails in their current confidential state, nor would UVA have any legal standing to deny the AG the emails in that case.

    By going the FOIA route, the true motives of Cuccinelli are revealed: garnering the public release of the Mann emails must be the real goal here.. He’s not performing an investigation, but acting as an advocate for climate change deniers. What bothers me most is the abuse of the FOIA mechanism by both sides in what is obviously a political, rather than legal or ethical, struggle.

  28. Bart said

    Jeff,

    I don’t claim to know the motivations of those financially supporting Mann in this, but I’d think it has most to do with an elected government official abusing the powers of his office to go after an individual scientists because he doesn’t like the perceived political implications of his work. That’s an affront to a free and democratic society, and there are people willing to stand up, and even to open their wallet, for that.

  29. John F. Pittman said

    Change the “elcted government official” to “publicly funded scientist” and “go after an individual scientist” with “go after private researchers” and “political implications” with “scientific implications,” and you might think there is a bit or more than a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

    I would agree that both are an affront to free and democatic society, per se, but as you say you don’t know the motivations of Mann vis a vis McIntyre, as applies as well to Cuccinelli vis a vis Mann. I would point out that both have a bad order. I would also point out that “free and democractic society(s)” have survived both liberal and conservatives trying to infringe on rights. I think democracies can survive publication of a few emails or other items. In fact we have seen that several times in the last 5 years alone.

  30. Bad Andrew said

    “an advocate for climate change deniers”

    Carrick,

    It appears you have your own political advocacy thing goin’ on.

    Andrew

  31. Bart,

    I share your concerns. Climategate exposed a more serious affront to a free and democratic society: The use of public science as a tool of tyrannical governments.

    The climate scandal may be our best – and perhaps only – chance to expose and end decades of data manipulation and deceit in government science.

    Would you favor a stepwise process? E.g.,

    1. First, just a list of persons communicated with?

    2. Then, ask a judge for permission to release messages with prominent figures in the AGW scandal? E.g.,

    Al Gore, Rajendra Pachauri, Ralph Cicerone (President of the US National Academy), Phillip Campbell (the editor of Nature), etc.?

    Michael Mann is a pawn, . . . perhaps with tentacles to those who continue to misrepresent scientific information about:

    1. The Sun’s origin.
    2. The Sun’s composition.
    3. The Sun’s source of energy.
    4. The Sun’s influence on Earth’s climate.

  32. Peter said

    I don’t claim to know their motivations either, Bart, but I become suspicious when a legal organization is set up that will withstand scrutiny all for the purpose of anonomously funding Mann’s fight not to comply with FOIA. Such an organization could easily cost a couple hundred more thousand to set up for this single purpose. Anonomous is clearly ready and already may have moved into 7 figures on this one. Smells to high heaven.

    Then we get Virginia, Virginia!! state senators getting ready to rig the game part way through. This is coal country, so it isn’t some innocent climate change true believer gone wild, Cucci’s actions in his state would be met with a ticker tape parade. Follow the money is always the rule, somebody has spent serious time and money making sure you can’t.

  33. Phil R said

    Nick,

    “But my question remains – what’s the principle here? Do the good libertarian folks at this blog really want State AG’s to have the right to demand all academic’s emails?”

    I don’t know if this comment has been made already but first, you’re already exaggerating when you say “demand all academic’s emails?”

    Second, this is not about whether the “good libertarian folks at this blog” want AGs thave the right to demand emails. The point is, at this time in Virginia the AG does have the right to LEGALLY REQUEST specific emails as part of a specific investigation, whether you agree with his reasoning or not.

    And a point stressed by others that you seem to purposely overlook is that if the research is publicly funded, then records (including emails) should be publicly available.

  34. Pat Frank said

    Nick, none of that is the point. The only basis for an official investigation is if there’s probable cause that Michael Mann committed scientific malfeasance.

    Probable cause has been established by the contents of the “back to 1400 censored” folder, by Mann’s misrepresentation before Congress about calculating the R^2 of his MBH98 reconstruction, and in the FOIA file email concerning his “Nature trick” in which disconfirming data was cryptically removed from a proxy graphic and replaced by a spliced-on surface temperature trend.

    These are suggestive of a misuse of public funds in production of known falsehoods. Maybe, in the event of an investigation, these allegations will prove unfounded or unprovable. However, probable cause is present.

    I agree with the principle that emails should not be searched on a political whim. Objective prior evidence of probable illicit activity is necessary to justify such a search.

    Whether one supports Cuccinelli’s program or not, or regardless of his political opportunism, the case for probable cause appears sound.

  35. Nick Stokes asked the most pertinent question, as to where would this slippely slope end, and I have yet to see a convincing answer to that.

  36. Peter said

    35.Bart Verheggen said
    January 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm
    Nick Stokes asked the most pertinent question, as to where would this slippely slope end, and I have yet to see a convincing answer to that.

    As far as science goes, disclosure of data, programming code and methods, and acknowledgement of uncertainty is the end of that not ver slippery slope. Hide nothing, nothing to find. /slippery slope

  37. Artifex said

    Bart says:

    I have yet to see a convincing answer to that.

    … and your problem with ownership of work argument is …. ? I assume you have some form of rational answer other than “I don’t want to hear that !”

    It does seem nothing good can come from this. I distrust this level of intrusion by government political interests, but see more politics than science coming from Mann as well. In a perfect world, the opposing forces would annihilate each other in a blinding flash and I would be left without both. Perhaps, this be settled by a duel ? I sort of like the idea of Mann and Cuccinelli at 10m with flintlock pistols. I would judge any outcome a win for the lovers of science.

    On the bright side, we have been reliably informed that ideologically driven forces backing a consensus AGW position is merely paranoid rightwing conspiracy theory. Since Mann’s funding is largely imaginary, we won’t have to worry about large amounts of taxpayer dollars spent fighting this in court.

  38. Jeff Id said

    Artifex,

    “I would judge any outcome a win for the lovers of science.”

    hahaha – awesome.

  39. Cuccinelli’s initial actions may be political, but the response by the state senators is purely partisan and has nothign to do with Mann or Climategate – just naked political ambition.

  40. kuhnkat said

    Nick Stokes,

    Unlike other supporters of Cuccinelli who believe probable cause is required and available, I believe if you want to root at the public trough everything you do even slightly connected to your position or public activity should be available for all us perverts to inspect. If your company gets federal money it is accepted that you must make available to the government pretty much anything they want to look at to show you meet all government standards. It is time for this same open ideal to be applied to government employees, politicians, those receiving grants, handouts and everyone else using OUR TAX MONEY!!

    You don’t want your e-mail read?? Don’t do it on the tax payers dime. Arguing against this ideal also allows the military industrial complex to keep on ingesting huge amounts of cash for minimal results. Having and enforcing sunshine laws is one of the more effective means of cleaning up abuses.

    As far as your accepting that the Dhimmicrats are trying to close those little holes for us to peek through, I guess you are on the hide the increase in useless expenditures side!!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  41. dis said

    Nick,

    You miss the nuances when you state: “So far, they have been winning in court.” On the contrary, the court cases have been a significant loss for UVA (though a win for Mann on the narrow issue of the emails). Despite quashing Cuccinelli’s subpoena, the court ruled that UVA is subject to a civil investigative demand for information from the state AG. For people who follow this sort of thing, it is a major finding. Why do you think Mann’s allies are trying to change the law if UVA has been winning? The general council of UVA must be kicking herself for putting UVA at risk of facing a permanent bright-line ruling that confirms the AG’s jurisdiction over the university. It is now too late for compromises.

    While I have little truck with Mann’s shenanigans and evasions, I do have sympathy with the attempt to change the law. We have seen how politically ambitious crusading prosecutors (you know who I mean) have used the incredibly broad jurisdictional provisions of the Martin Act to go on witch hunts against private corporations in order to gain higher office. The Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act is another version of the Martin Act. Conservatives may be tempted to say that turnabout is fair play (and it is admittedly entertaining to watch) but these types of broad laws permitting fishing expeditions are really bad policy whether it is a liberal or a conservative wielding the sword.

  42. kuhnkat said

    ““There are 50 scientific organizations in 50 countries all around the world that came to the same conclusion,” Toscano said. “This is really an inappropriate use of tax dollars.””

    Like Phil Jones and CRU, I wonder how many of these other 49 scientific organizations receive US tax dollars directly or indirectly!!!

  43. Jeff, I find your #23 logic here very puzzling
    “I don’t believe this is a witch hunt though, but rather that Cucci is a one man conspiracy to release Mann’s emails to the public.”
    Well, great! So the chief law officer of Va is using his powers not to enforce law but to release emails for a political end.

    “Whether they pertain to VA law or not, he can discuss them. “
    That’s a defence?

    “the incredible amount of money being dumped into Mann’s defense from unknown sources”
    Really? My understanding is that Steveta is right – it’s AG vs UVa. The AG is pushing it, and that won’t be cheap for Va taxpayers. But UVa, AFAIK, is using its funds in challenging the CID.

    “Who is so interested in those emails remaining hidden that they would bring them to the attention of democratic VA senators to actually change the law!!”
    No, I would expect that the senators were surprised to find that the Va law might allow to AG to act in such an overbearing manner (and for the improper political purpose that you suggest) and want to make sure that it can’t.

  44. Jeff Id said

    “Well, great! So the chief law officer of Va is using his powers not to enforce law but to release emails for a political end. ”

    That is my opinion, and someone we don’t know is willing to convince senators to change the law to prevent it. I hope you worry about both aspects of this.

    “But UVa, AFAIK, is using its funds in challenging the CID.”

    Private sources have been cited for funding of a half million-ish dollars in the press.

    “No, I would expect that the senators were surprised to find that the Va law might allow to AG to act in such an overbearing manner (and for the improper political purpose that you suggest) and want to make sure that it can’t.”

    I don’t see it as unreasonable to want to review the emails of a VERY suspicious person you just paid. The govt is way too big to expect individuals to actually give a crap if the money is flushed down a toilet. My guess is that Cucci will find plenty of malfeasance to discuss if he gets the emails. The reaction to change the law is far more extreme than Cucci using the law to see emails.

    If you were in a contract with me in business and it went sour, the first thing your lawyers would do is subpoena every email on the subject. And if I were not smart enough to come clean, you could make millions.

    This is far more standard than has been represented in the Air Vent threads on this topic.

    Once a lawsuit is pursued, disclosure is MANDATORY!!

  45. Layman Lurker said

    No, I would expect that the senators were surprised to find that the Va law might allow to AG to act in such an overbearing manner (and for the improper political purpose that you suggest) and want to make sure that it can’t.

    To me this statement is naive Nick. Do you actually think that Democrats wouldn’t ruthlessly exploit a legal avenue if the shoe was on the other foot? This whole issue has been dripping with politics for years. All this has done is show a snapshot of how these back room games are played.

  46. Jeff #44
    “Private sources have been cited for funding of a half million-ish dollars in the press.”
    Any links? Funding for what?

    “I don’t see it as unreasonable to want to review the emails of a VERY suspicious person you just paid.”
    Well, for a start, they haven’t just paid Mann – he left Va in 2005, and the grants Cucci complained of were much earlier. But then it turned out they were federal grants, except for one UVa grant in which Mann had a minor role, nothing to do with paleo controversies.

    “the first thing your lawyers would do is subpoena every email on the subject”
    No, they can’t do that. Normally subpoenas are issued under the authority of a court. They would have to get that authority. That’s the legislative issue here – the AG can issue a CID on his own authority, but UVa can challenge it in court and has done so, successfully to date.

    A court will closely restrict subpoenas to material shown to be relevant. Your post seemed to celebrate its irrelevance.

  47. stan said

    Wow. Only in the bizarre, looking glass of world of climate science are we likely to see a government agency’s attempt at a coverup and a denial of accountability transformed into a noble defense of liberty and democracy. What a crock of bulls**t!

    I know this must be really hard for Bart and Nick to wrap their little brains around, but govt employees paid with govt money working for govt instutions in govt buildings doing public research paid for by govt money actually have a responsibility to the public and its govt. Really. They do.

    I know, it’s climate science — Whodathunkit?! Climate science is supposed to be top secret. No one shares data or methods. No one outside the select circle of insiders is ever allowed to see how the work is done. If outsiders can see the work, they might find something wrong with it. And then the science would no longer be settled! We can’t have that.

    I think what the AG is doing is great. His job includes investigations to ensure that public employees of the state remain accountable to their bosses — the public. And every aspect of public work should be available for review — every single bit. It is an outrage that UVA is stonewalling the public. This is a democracy. The public provides the money and employs the scientists. The scientists owe the public a duty to be accountable for every aspect of their work. There are no privacy issues at stake here. None. The only issue is whether public employees will be held to account or be allowed to renounce their public obligations. Democracy does not function as well when government operates in secret.

    Mann (and everyone else spending the public’s money) should have to make his work available for review simply on general principles. However, the particular case regarding Mann is strengthened considerably by all the revelations which make it likely that he has not been honest with the public.

    The stonewalling is a disgrace. Mann and the university should be accountable. Democracy and liberty are at risk when govt acts in secret. And any efforts to try to claim that it is the stonewallers and secrecy advocates who are standing up for democracy and liberty are simply ridiculous BS.

  48. Geoff Sherrington said

    46 Nick. So far, your posted position summarises two possibilities. Either 1. Recipients of Government funding are not responsible for its proper use. Or 2. If they do misuse funding, there should be no mechanism to discover misuse.

    Your blogs have been conspicuous by an absence of your preferred method to deal with prima facie malfeasance. In a perfect world, where you were A-G, what would you do?

  49. #48 “In a perfect world, where you were A-G, what would you do?”

    Like all AG’s before Cucci, absolutely nothing. It just isn’t their job to oversee whether Mann has presented R2 correctly, or published an inadequate graph in Nature. And as I said, none of these involved Va grants anyway.

    There are many well established mechanisms for ensuring the proper use of government funding. Grant authorities demand open publication etc. Universities handle most actual spending, and that all gets audited. It’s been running smoothly for years.

    What’s happened here is that some folk have tried to gin up a controversy, so muddled that no-one can even agree on what funding is at issue or what the alleged lapses were, and the only answer is that the Va AG has to trawl through MM’s emails.

    And LL #45 “All this has done is show a snapshot of how these back room games are played.”
    Maybe, though I doubt it. And Cucci is playing to the gallery, not in a back room. But my surprise is at the chorus here shouting down anyone who tries to resist the game being played that way.

  50. Kan said

    Nick, Bart

    Where was all this outrage regarding state AG’s running amuck – with little legal constraint – when Elliot Spitzer perfected the art for political gain?

    Silence…

    (It is different when a favored ox is gored isn’t it).

  51. Layman Lurker said

    Nick, the I see the “game” as publicly pretending there is no politics involved (applies just as much to the Dems as the GOP). And if you think this is all playing out in public then you are being naive again. BTW, I don’t take issue with your distate for all of this, but I would not be so quick to hand out the halos and the pitchforks.

    “Everything is politics” (Thomas Mann)

  52. Peter said

    Nick Stokes: ” But UVa, AFAIK, is using its funds in challenging the CID”.

    Know farther, Nick. It is a purpose built legal entity to fund the defense plus hide the source of the money, whose legal I.D. is “Friends of Mann”.

  53. Re: Kan (Jan 20 00:10),
    There was, rightly, plenty of controversy about Spitzer’s vigorous use of the Martin Act. Do you think he was right?

    I personally did not have much to say about it – I don’t normally comment on US state gov’t activities. One can’t set everything to rights. But if it involves scientist bashing I do. That’s just me.

  54. Re: Peter (Jan 20 00:50),
    Still no link. “Friends of Mann” offerred nothing on Google. Is it that hard?

  55. Peter said

    Nick: “still” no link? That is your first request for a link, at least from me, so still is probably a poor choice. I Googled Nick Stokes, and discovered that I am corresponding with a fictional character from an American TV series, are you real?

  56. Re: Peter (Jan 20 01:20),
    “are you real?” Yes, and I had the name first – ID theft. Try Nick Stokes Fastflo.

    I asked Jeff for a link earlier. I keep hearing this 0.5M story bandied about, but it’s hard to pin down. It’s not even clear what it is supposed to be funding, since Mann is not a party to Va litigation.

  57. Peter said

    Nick,

    I have made only a very cursory check, but I note that Chris Horner has made an additional FOIA request of UVa to attemp to identify the source of funding. I will check more thoroughly.

    http://atinstitute.org/uploads/File/ATI_UVA_Donors_FOIA.pdf

    I did see a media reference to friens of mann, I will run it down.

  58. Kan said

    Nick -
    Spitzer – I will let his conviction (not his convictions) record speak for itself. I was not happy and not quiet. I am not thrilled by Cucci doing the same either. State AG’s inventing wrongs, to create a political future, on the backs of non-criminals needs to stop.

    “But if it involves scientist bashing I do. That’s just me.”

    So it is not principles, just your ox. We all live on the slope.

    As I said on the next thread – look no further than the ( beloved by all deniers-of-deniers) Big Tobacco take down. Those tactics will be coming to a hall near you.

    Knock, knock.

  59. Kan said

    And do not forget the demise of Arthur Anderson as an entity. That was a watershed event in the U.S legal profession. An employment entity (affecting the lives of many innocent employees) was destroyed by the acts of a very few. I believe Australia felt the tremors from this quake.

    Replace entity with University, and employee with professor. This snowball can roll.

  60. Brian H said

    Back to the topic of the posting:
    Not to worry. The VA Senate is controlled by Democrats (22/40), the Assembly by Republicans (58/97 (100 less 1 vacancy, 2 Indies). The Senate can’t do anything on its own hook. It’s just posturing.

  61. kim said

    Kan, if the globe warms, we’ll never figure out how this pox came upon the populus. If it cools, the sham will tumble and many with it.

    Now I expect it to cool, from the concatenation of cooling phases of the oceanic oscillations and from the Cheshire Cat Sunspots. And with the unplanned for cooling, we’ll get massive and holocaustic social cataclysms.

    But, you pays your money and you takes your chances. I’ve got Koutsoyiannis coming on strong in the backstretch. If I’d only bet on Ol’ Stewball.
    ===================

  62. dis said

    Nick,

    Criticism of Spitzer for using the Martin Act was actually quite muted, except in some narrow circles (Wall Street firms, WSJ and their ilk). He was able to parlay the prominence he received into wining the governorship in an overwhelming landslide. And his successor followed the exact same playbook with same result (well, without the hookers). Hardly evidence of much controversy -just an easy road to popularity. Of course, just because an act is popular, doesn’t mean it is right. But Kan makes a fair point about the hypocrisy of some on the political left who made those type of crusading liberal AG’s superstars while decrying the same tactics used by conservative prosecutors. I’ll guess that the Virginia state senators are nowhere on record taking a position on the Martin Act. You are being really quite naive in saying: “No, I would expect that the senators were surprised to find that the Va law might allow to AG to act in such an overbearing manner (and for the improper political purpose that you suggest) and want to make sure that it can’t.” There is gambling in the casino? I’m shocked.

  63. kim said

    SDNY has been problematic since G entrapped.
    =================

  64. First – the $500k. I have seen nothing that indicates it is not any thing other than the UVA money – in otherwords, the Taxpayers of Virginia’s money. It may come from some cryptic cabal, or just the money the state has already paid them, but what seems apparent to all (pros and cons) is that it is wasted. They have lost.

    Second – I would ask how many of the commenters here live and pay taxes in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For it is only those souls that are getting ripped off by UVA (to the tune of $500k so far), and perhaps WERE ripped off by Mann. While “half a million here, half a million there” seems like chump change to many of you given the trillions in debt the US government is spending, it is significant to many Virginians since:

    A – Services have been cut by almost 10% in the past 4 years affecting all Virginians (that is CUT – not a 10% reduction in growth)
    B – State employees (outside of Academia) have not had a raise (COLA or Merit, Step or otherwise) in 4 years.

    So while we may sit in our wing back chairs puffing on our fine Dominican Cigars, and pontificating on whether Cuccinelli is right or wrong, political or not, or a skeptic or warmista – the truth of the matter is that it is HIS JOB to investigate fraud AND waste.

    And the citizens of Virginia for the most part would love to save some wasted or fraudulently spent bucks back so that more services would not be cut and – for tens of thousands of families – to get a raise so their wages are not slipping backwards instead of keeping up with the cost of living.

  65. Phil R said

    Phil,

    “Second – I would ask how many of the commenters here live and pay taxes in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

    At least one. :>)

  66. Steven Mosher said

    I have an issue with the AG exercising his power here.
    I imagine he has the right to do it, but discretion is the word I would
    appeal to. I don’t expect the AG will find anything except perhaps stuff that will be embarassing to mann.

    Our goal shouldnt be to embarass mann. I dont see how the science is improved by this.

    I’d rather CEI and others fund bringing the proxies up to date.

    That would be a unique settlement offer.

    How many of us would agree to call the dogs off if in exchange we got the proxies brought
    up to date.

    in my dreams I know.

  67. Jeremy said

    I wonder how Nick Stokes would answer the converse to his question… “What is the principle to keeping the work-related e-mails of a man who is presumed to be an honest scientist just trying to help save the world a secret?” If those among us who successfully call for major changes to our economy on the basis of their research are not under greater scrutiny, then we are quite gullible indeed. Wouldn’t the university, knowing their man had done no wrong, want to exonerate him by exposing just how righteous his use of public money to demonstrate scientific reality were?

  68. Marc said

    Sure, if there’s basis for fraud, go after the guy, but lets not trash the constitutional right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure to do it. Have you all read the article Jeff linked to? Here’s the key bit:

    The investigative demands claim Mann may have defrauded the commonwealth when seeking grants by including in his resume two papers that “have come under significant criticism” for “a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data.

    In other words, it’s probable cause to suspect fraud if you’ve done research that has been criticized (by people the AG happens to agree with). Anyone can see how chilling that is to research. If the AG can go after Mann on that basis, he can go after anyone for anything he doesn’t like. Sounds dangerous to me.

  69. Jeff Id said

    Is it acceptable to request emails when fraud is suspected?

    In my view, the problem is that the request is the punishment.

  70. Jeff Id said

    “If the AG can go after Mann on that basis, he can go after anyone for anything he doesn’t like. Sounds dangerous to me.”

    You couldn’t be more right. Guess what though, we all are under the lens already. Mann has received special protection – we would not be so lucky, almost without respect to the money in our pockets.

  71. I agree, Jeff.

  72. Marc said

    If there’s basis to suspect fraud, investigate. Absolutely. No one is above the law and emails are a fair target. But if this is probable cause, we can use the hockey stick to bury the Constitution.

  73. Jeff Id said

    Marc,

    Mann was complicit in defrauding the IPCC. He was part of the hide the decline group. I’m sure the guy had his own reasons and am unsure as to the details of the VA case, but he isn’t handling data correctly and in my opinion it is being done with deliberate intent. It has just happened too often with him. If the emails don’t show anything, there is egg all over the prosecutors face, but if they don’t show anything nobody spends a half million keeping them from public eyes.

    I believe from his work that he is in trouble, I believe he isn’t at all clean. I also believe Cucci isn’t at all interested in public money used, but rather knows he can do some fairly substantial damage to the AGW extremist case by revealing these emails and the extremism does have to stop. So while I think Cucci is a politician in this case more than a prosecutor, Mann is rightfully worried about the damage his emails will do. My guess is that the university would be tempted to go so far as to ‘clean’ the emails- which is a very big no no.

  74. Mann was and is a pawn.

    The e-mails may lead us to those who directed the pawn.

    That is why, in my opinion, the university seeks to avoid release of the e-mails. Some mighty influential people may be implicated.

  75. Marc said

    If Alan Grayson (ultra progressive ex-Congressman from Florida) became the AG in Massachusetts and subpoenaed Lindzen’s records fishing for undue influence from AFP and Heartland to publish a certain result, FOX and the blogosphere would go BALLISTIC! And rightfully so. No matter how guilty you believe someone to be, it does not justify an abuse of power. Waving the presumption of innocence and requirement for probable cause is dangerous, no matter what the politics or science.

  76. Mark T said

    75.Marc said
    January 31, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    If Alan Grayson (ultra progressive ex-Congressman from Florida) became the AG in Massachusetts and subpoenaed Lindzen’s records fishing for undue influence from AFP and Heartland to publish a certain result

    Do you know this, or are you simply guessing because you “know” this? Just curious.

    Mark

  77. Mark T said

    I’m also curious, Marc, if you have some insider information regarding knowledge Cuccinelli has that has not been made public, i.e., do you know there is no probable cause. I’m also curious if you have ignored the fact that Mann has indeed lied to both Congress and the NAS, which constitutes probable cause in most states. Further, does your hypothetical regarding Lindzen include this possibility, i.e., knowledge of past bad acts regarding Lindzen?

    If you answer to the question is “no,” then your analogy is not apt, not even close, but if your answer is “yes,” then nobody in here will be going ballistic.

    Mark

  78. Marc said

    Pure conjecture on my part, Mark, based on my observations of the media and blogosphere. As to Cucci, all I know is what I read in the papers. My comments are confined to the context of this post and I have no knowledge that Lindzen is corrupt. If Mann lied to Congress, try him for contempt of Congress, not grant fraud. I stipulated right off that if there’s probable cause, prosecute. But if it’s a fishing expedition, then Cucci’s abusing his power and violating Mann’s rights. Thing is, you can’t violate just one person’s rights. Once he loses them, we all lose them. Is is worth that?

  79. Mark T said

    Marc said
    February 2, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Pure conjecture on my part, Mark, based on my observations of the media and blogosphere. As to Cucci, all I know is what I read in the papers.

    That’s my point: you have no idea what Cuccinelli knows making any suppositions heavily flawed.

    My comments are confined to the context of this post and I have no knowledge that Lindzen is corrupt.

    If you don’t, then the comparison does not hold. We know Mann has lied to a public official.

    If Mann lied to Congress, try him for contempt of Congress, not grant fraud.

    Mann is not being “tried” for anything, which is something you haven’t picked up on. Mann is simply being investigated. If Mann is willing to lie to scientific bodies as well as Congress, then the obvious legal position is to get his communications to a) find the depth of his lies and b) the scope of his lies. The AG’s recourse is likely limited to Mann’s handling of grant money, but the same communications would be requested in either case.

    I stipulated right off that if there’s probable cause, prosecute. But if it’s a fishing expedition, then Cucci’s abusing his power and violating Mann’s rights. Thing is, you can’t violate just one person’s rights. Once he loses them, we all lose them. Is is worth that?

    It is not a violation of rights to investigate someone, nor try them for alleged crimes, another set of points you seem to be ignoring. Nobody has a right to not be investigated and if there is not sufficient evidence once the communications have been uncovered, the case will be dropped. If there is sufficient evidence, however, then there will be a trial.

    Mark

  80. Marc said

    Mark, the reported basis of the investigation is that Mann listed research that was criticized on a resume in connection with a grant application. My comments are in this context. I stipulated that if there were probable cause to pursue an investigation, then an investigation is legitimate, but I do not believe the stated grounds constitute probable cause. If probable cause is not established, Mann’s 4th ammendment rights would be violated by the subpoena. Cuccinelli may have sufficient cause that I don’t know about, but I doubt it, as his subpoena has been rejected in one court already. There’s one judge, at least, who agrees with me.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

  81. Mark T said

    Marc said
    February 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Mark, the reported basis of the investigation is that Mann listed research that was criticized on a resume in connection with a grant application. My comments are in this context.

    Immaterial what the reported basis is. You do not know what information he is actually using. Once they get to the point of full discovery things will be easier to interpret.

    If probable cause is not established, Mann’s 4th ammendment rights would be violated by the subpoena.

    Nonsense. Simply issuing a subpoena to begin an investigation is not a violation of the 4th amendment, in fact, that is exactly what he is supposed to do, i.e., the 4th amendment implies that Cuccinelli has to go through this process to get the information, he cannot simply walk in, search for the information, then take it. Doing so would be a violation and any evidence seized would be ruled inadmissable.

    Cuccinelli may have sufficient cause that I don’t know about, but I doubt it, as his subpoena has been rejected in one court already. There’s one judge, at least, who agrees with me.

    That judge agreed the grounds were insufficient, not that there has been a violation of the 4th amendment. If the grounds are deemed insufficient then the subpoena is quashed, as it should be. If the grounds are deemed sufficient, then UVA must comply. In either case, the issue is not with Mann’s rights anyway, it’s with UVA’s rights. They are the owners of the data, not Mann.

    The fact that all of this information is already legally subject to FOIA renders many of the 4th amendment issues moot anyway. The general public owns this information already.

    Mark

  82. Mark T said

    You would do well to note that a subpoena is not a warrant.

    Mark

  83. Marc said

    You make good points.

  84. Marc #80 – the court did not reject the basis for Cuccinelli’s request, they rejected it because it was not specific. He resubmitted to the same court with more specificity and that one was approved.

  85. Mark T said

    Thanks, Marc. Just trying to be clear.

    That sounds about right from what I remember reading, PhilJourdan. Specificity is notably a requirement in the procedural rules for doing what Cuccinelli is doing. If I’m not mistaken, he’s also pursuing a civil route, which is different than criminal, though I’d guess there’s no guarantee such a pursuit cannot become criminal through discovery.

    Mark

  86. Marc said

    You guys sure about that? The way I read the article, Cuccinelli went back to UVA with a more specific request and the case is now before the VA Supreme Court.

    UVa appealed the demands in August to Albemarle County District Court Judge Paul M. Peatross, who threw out Cuccinelli’s effort to get the documents. Cuccinelli re-filed in September and UVa again appealed the demand, promising to use private money to fund the court fight. The issue is now before the Virginia Supreme Court.

    In a Supreme Court filing, UVa lawyers argued that Cuccinelli’s new demands are the same as those tossed out by Peatross.

    But overall, you’re right, it wasn’t rejected for probable cause, it was rejected for being too broad, so I can’t claim a judge agrees with me.

    I’ve got say, Mark, that expressing arguments with formal logic really makes them easier to parse. Let me restate my argument here in a more recognizable form.

    - Politically motivated investigations violate the Constitution.
    - Cuccinelli’s investigation of Mann is politically motivated.
    - Therefore, Cuccinelli’s investigation of Mann violates the Constitution.

    I can flesh out the first premise.

    - Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the first amendment.
    - Politically-motivated investigations punish speech.
    - Politically-motivated investigations violate the guarantees of the first amendment.

    The second premise is transparent in my opinion, but I’m sure some will object. I’ll try to step around that by making the conclusion conditional on the second premise.

    - If Cuccinelli’s investigation of Mann is politically motivated, it violates the Constitution.

    That way we don’t need to debate Cuccinelli’s motivation. Everyone can make up their own mind as to whether or not it’s politically motivated.

    Thanks for encouraging me to be more precise.

  87. Marc said

    It sure would be nice to have a preview or edit function!

  88. Marc – Yes, and you are correct as well. Once the District judge said Ok, UVA appealed to the state Supreme court. However, most legal scholars in the commonwealth state that UVA is just wasting money at this point.

  89. Anonymous said

    - Politically motivated investigations violate the Constitution.

    This is not in the Constitution, btw.

    Mark

  90. Mark T said

    Oh, Anonymous was me. My browser forgot who I was and I hit the post comment button not realizing the stuff was not entered… not sure why it let me do that, I thought Name and Email were required.

    Mark

  91. Marc said

    This is not in the Constitution, btw

    No, neither is “separation of church and state,” for that matter. So for the argument to stand, we’d have to agree that politically motivated investigations punish the speaker and that punishment impinges on freedom. Any objections?

    BTW, in the name of civil liberties, I’d much prefer the FOIA route.

    As to wasting money, I wasn’t gonna bring this up, but no one commenting on this thread even picked up on the fact that Jeff wants to convey the opposite of the point of the quote he picked out. Using the quote in support of his position seems sloppy or misleading. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for one second saying that Jeff’s work is generally speaking sloppy or misleading. It would not be at all valid to draw a general rule from a specific case of getting it wrong. Perhaps it would be fair to induce that most participants of this thread, in accepting the incorrect interpretation of the quote, tend to believe what they want. Just a hypothesis…

  92. Mark T said

    91.Marc said
    February 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    No, neither is “separation of church and state,” for that matter.

    The analogy is incorrect. The so-called “separation of church and state” only holds in certain very specific applications. The government gives tax advantages to religious organizations. Illegal search and seizure is a completely different argument than investigation.

    So for the argument to stand, we’d have to agree that politically motivated investigations punish the speaker and that punishment impinges on freedom. Any objections?

    Yes, plenty. The most obvious is that what is un-Constitutional is an infringement upon property rights (search and seizure.) Simply implementing an investigation does not infringe upon any property rights (or any other rights for that matter.) The reasons for the investigation are immaterial. If there is sufficient evidence to move the investigation into the “search and seizure” aspect (if UVA loses the court case and still refuses to comply,) where rights become an issue, then Cuccinelli will likely have to do what is Constitutionally mandated and get a warrant (though how that plays out legally is probably up to individual states, e.g., contempt of court, a warrant would be issued, etc., I don’t know.) If he were to simply walk in and demand the information, THEN there would be a Constitutional issue.

    There’s nothing saying that the courts cannot determine that the investigation amounts to harrassment, which would then lead to an issue should such a determination be ignored.

    I’m not sure where you are getting this notion that an investigation treads on rights.

    Mark

  93. Mark T said

    The FOIA route, btw, is likely what will kill UVA anyway. The courts may simply say “the information is public domain, hand it over.” Dunno… PhilJourdan’s comment in #88 is probably correct regarding this. They don’t really have a choice in the matter, they’re just stalling for time and wasting money.

    Mark

  94. Marc said

    Mark, If you go back to #86, you’ll see I reference the first amendment. I like it so much I’ll drop it in:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Technically, we’d have to bring in due process and the 14th to extend this to Virginia, but I don’t think we really need to delve into Constitutional law. More simply, what’s your position on politically motivated investigations in general?

    I brought up “separation of church and state” in reference to a silly recent debate on whether or not it’s actually in the Constitution, which we need not delve into. I interpreted your remark about it not being in the Constitution as being silly. I’m sure you understand that the concept that one shall not be punished for an unpopular opinion is deeply ingrained in American law.

  95. Marc said

    If he were to simply walk in and demand the information, THEN there would be a Constitutional issue.

    My bad. I was under the impression that was the heart of the issue here. Did Cuccinelli just ask nicely? Got no problem with that at all!

  96. Mark T said

    No, he issued a subpoena, as has already been noted. UVA exercised their legal right to fight the subpoena which is why it is the courts now.

    Just as an FYI, don’t argue points when you don’t have all the details.

    Mark

  97. Mark T said

    Oh, in answer to your question, no, I do not particularly like that there are politically motivated inquiries such as this, but that has no bearing on my opinion of their legality.

    Mark

  98. Marc said

    Sorry, Mark, what’s the sarcasm tag again?

    Whether you call it a subpoena or, in this case, a Civil Investigative Demand, the AG demanded the documents. My statement is informed by the Washington Post, May 4, 2010: State attorney general demands ex-professor’s files from University of Virginia
    The civil investigative demand asks for all data and materials presented by former professor Michael Mann when he applied for five research grants from the university. It also gives the school until May 27 to produce all correspondence or e-mails between Mann and 39 other scientists since 1999.

    I don’t know if he walked in and did it himself, or if he got someone else to serve the CID, or if he just sent it by post. If that detail is critical to the constitutionality test, I’ll drop the argument.

  99. Marc said

    It doesn’t bode well for a democracy, IMHO, when its citizens are in doubt as to the fundamental rights at its core.

  100. It doesn’t bode well for a democracy or for the future of science in this country, IMHO, when its citizens are in doubt as to whether or not government scientists are selling their product for use as government propaganda.

  101. Marc said

    Agreed!

    Once they start thinking that, who knows what they’ll believe!

  102. Mark T said

    Immaterial, Marc. He has to actually seize or search something for Constitutionality to apply. Really, this is getting silly. You ignorance regarding this is pathetic. The law, and the Constitution, are being followed as evidenced by the very fact that it is in court. You’re arguing an ethical point, not a legal one.

    Mark

  103. Mark T said

    It takes all of two seconds on Google to find SCOTUS case law supporting the Constitutionality of subpoena power and the standard cconsiderably weaker than a warrant for arrest or search (and we have already noted Mann’s public lies.)

    Mark

  104. Marc #99 – In that case, democracy (or more accurately a representative republic) is already dead. The lack of Constitutional knowledge is a crises, and demonstrated sadly by the former Speaker of the House (“Are you Serious?”) and many of her collegues and senators who do not know the basic language and tenets contained therein. It is exacerbated by a media that is probably more ignorant of the contents of the document than the elected officials they are purported to question.

  105. Marc said

    Mark, you’re right, it’s getting silly.

    Your claim that, hold on, let me get your words right, “the law …[is] being followed as evidenced by the very fact that it is in court,” seems (mildly put) backwards to me. Cases generally go to court to determine whether a law is not being followed. No? So to say that a court case demonstrates that the law is being followed is truly impressive sophistry. However, all the case demonstrates is that Cuccinelli recognizes the authority of Virginia courts. Since he’s the state’s attorney general, that’s comforting I suppose.

    UVA’s still got the emails, so yes, you’re right, you can say Mann’s rights, and those of anyone else whom the AG finds objectionable, have yet to be trampled by stampeding political opportunism. That’s not quite the same as abiding by the law. I know you’re not saying an AG can try to do whatever he wants because the courts are there to protect citizens. I know you hold public officials to a higher standard than lets go get the bastard and let the courts figure it out. I know you expect public officials to live up to their sworn duty. Google “VA oath of office” if you’re in doubt as to what that duty entails. I know you’d expect the AG to set an example and live up to his state bar’s ethical guidelines: A lawyer should use the law’s procedures only for legitimate purposes and not to harass or intimidate others. [sarc] But you say my ignorance is pathetic and on these points I confess, I might be wrong. [/sarc]

    Pat got the principle right back in #34. I vigorously disagree, however, that listing a controversial paper on a resume submitted as part of a grant request (to study something quite different) in any way constitutes probable cause to suspect Mann knowingly attempted to mislead the state.

    The CID explicitly states the basis for the investigation and is here.

    I’m not sure what your position is so I’ll just ask. Do you think Cuccinelli’s basis – the paper on the resume thing – is sufficient probable cause to investigate fraud and seize documents?

    If not, then without probable cause, is the AG respecting our constitutional rights if he goes fishing for evidence as long as he abides by the courts?

    BTW, Cuccinelli sent the CID by mail. Silly, I know…

  106. Marc said

    He has to actually seize or search something for Constitutionality to apply.

    You sure Mark?

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