It's not the crime, it's the cover-up, as the saying goes. In the case of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann and his supporters, it may be both. Not only did Mann participate in perhaps the greatest scam of modern times, but he may have also have fraudulently used taxpayer funds to do so.
At least Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli thinks so, and has been diligently trying to obtain from U.Va. documents and e-mails related to Mann's work there. Mann reportedly received around $500,000 from taxpayer-funded grants from the university for research there from 1999 to 2005.
Cuccinelli is alleging a possible violation of a 2002 statute, the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. The AG has said that he wants the documents, including grant applications and e-mails exchanged between Mann and 39 other scientists and university staffers, to help determine whether Mann committed fraud by knowingly manipulating data as he sought the taxpayer-funded grants for his research.
Mann was at the heart of the ClimateGate scandal when e-mails were unearthed from Britain's Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. In one e-mail sent to Mann and others by CRU director Philip Jones, Jones speaks of the "trick" of filling in gaps of data in order to hide evidence of temperature decline:
"I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline." It was that attempt to "hide the decline" through the manipulation of data that brought down the global warming house of cards.
Mann was the architect behind the famous "hockey stick" graph that was produced in 1999 but which really should be called the "hokey stick." Developed by Mann using manipulated tree-ring data, it supposedly proved that air temperatures had been stable for 900 years, then soared off the charts in the 20th century.
Mann et al. had to make the Medieval Warm Period (about A.D. 800 to 1400) and the Little Ice Age (A.D. 1600 to 1850) statistically disappear.
The graph relied on data from trees on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. Here, too, the results were carefully selected. Just 12 trees from the 252 cores in the CRU's Yamal data set were used. A larger data set of 34 tree cores from the vicinity showed no dramatic recent warming, and warmer temperatures in the middle ages. They were not included.
Attempting to block Cuccinelli and rising to Mann's defense are Virginia state senators Chap Petersen and Donald McEachin. They are backing legislation that would strip the attorney general's office of its power to issue "civil investigative demands," otherwise known as subpoenas, under the 2002 statute.
They claim they are defending academic freedom, but they are trying to hide what many consider academic fraud, work that found its way into the reports of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It led to Kyoto and Copenhagen, and formed the basis for the EPA's endangerment finding that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that needs to be regulated.
After Mann left U.Va., he went to Penn State, which the Obama administration awarded with $541,184 in economic stimulus funds to save, according to recovery.gov, 1.62 jobs so that Professor Mann could continue his tree-ring circus fraudulently advancing the myth of man-made global warming that through equally bogus remedies like cap-and-trade and EPA regulations would bring the U.S. economy to its knees.
In a glaringly arrogant e-mail, Mann said he was grateful to the legislators for pressing the issue and hoped the action would give Cuccinelli "some second thoughts about continuing to waste their time and resources attacking well-established science." Hide the decline, then hide the truth.
We hope the legislation fails, the truth will come out and Mann et al. will be held accountable for engineering a scientific and economic fraud that would have made Bernie Madoff blush.