By Sabri Ben-Achour
Virginia's Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, is renewing his effort to investigate a former University of Virginia professor for fraud--an investigation that many scientists and faculty are calling an ideological witch hunt.
The attorney general doesn't believe in climate change, and he believes that a world renowned climate scientist who used to teach at UVA committed fraud in his grant funded research.
In May, he ordered the university to turn over vast quantities of documents and correspondence between about 40 people, including any email, letter, handwritten or drawn piece of information that mentioned professor Michael Mann. The university retained legal counsel and fought.
Last August, a judge ruled that the attorney general hadn't explained, as required by law, how exactly Professor Mann had done anything fraudulent and dismissed Cuccinelli's demands. Last week Cuccinelli renewed his investigation, fleshing out how he believes Mann's research lacks statistical rigor.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, among many other groups, have likened this to ideological persecution.