As Chris Horner blogged yesterday, the Environmental Law Center at American Tradition Institute (where I am executive director) has requested under the state’s Freedom of Information Act that the University of Virginia turn over documents and emails related to public grants sought by “hockey stick” scientist Michael Mann, who moved over to Penn State University a few years ago. UVA has been resisting (spending about $500,000 on outside lawyers for the effort) a similar, previous request by Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, who is investigating Mann under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.
One of the Washington Post‘s Virginia Politics bloggers posted a report about our FOIA yesterday, and obtained a response from Mann:
[ATI]’s senior director of litigation, Christopher Horner, has written two books on why he believes global warming is a hoax and gives frequently speeches on the subject. He is also a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
In a statement, Mann noted that the think tank receives funding from ExxonMobile (sic) and other corporate groups.
“Industry-funded lobbyists like Horner have been using precisely the same tactics for decades to intimidate scientists whose scientific findings proved inconvenient to the vested interests they represent such as the tobacco, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries,” he said.
“There is substantial case law defending scientists and academics against such thinly-veiled attempts to suppress scientific inquiry by harassing individual scientists. I suspect that U.Va, as other great universities have in the past, will respect that tradition and stand up against these transparent attempts not just to bully me, but to thwart the progress of science,” Mann said.
You might remember we learned after Climategate that Mann showed himself to be a believer in the preservation of public institution emails:
Penn State global warming scientist Michael E. Mann regrets he did not instantly object when a fellow climatologist asked him in 2008 to delete e-mails subject to Freedom of Information requests.
“I wish in retrospect I had told him, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t even be thinking about this,'” Mann told The Morning Call in his first interview since the university last month launched an investigation into his conduct. “I didn’t think it was an appropriate request.”
And recall that when there was a post-Climategate investigation of Mann by Penn State, he said:
“I would be disappointed if the university wasn’t doing all [it] can to get as much information as possible” about the controversy, Mann tells the Daily Collegian.
So what has changed for Mr. Transparency? We are now asking for different emails, from when he devised the hockey stick, which makes us all-the-more curious about what’s in them.