Attorney General’s Investigation of Climate Scientist, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia v. Cuccinelli (amicus)

In April 2010, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued two Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) against the University of Virginia under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA).  The AG sought a multitude of documents pertaining to climate scientist Michael Mann, who had previously worked at UVA, including all of Mann’s correspondence with various colleagues and all of his research materials, to support an investigation into alleged fraud relating to Mann’s applications for several state and federal grants.  The fraud inquiry is based solely on controversy surrounding Mann’s research methods and conclusions.   UVA filed a petition to set aside the CIDs in Albemarle County Circuit Court.  On August 18, 2010, along with the American Association of University Professors, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, we filed an amicus brief arguing that the CIDs infringed on academic freedom in violation of the First Amendment.  On August 30, 2010, the court set aside the CIDs, holding that the AG had failed to set forth the allegedly fraudulent conduct.  On September 29, 2010, the Attorney General filed a new CID and appealed the dismissal of the earlier ones to the Virginia Supreme Court.  On March 4, 2011, the Supreme Court granted the appeal.  We filed our amicus brief on April 25, 2011.  On March 2, 2012, the Supreme Court invalidated the CIDs on the grounds that the statute does not allow CIDs to be issued to a state university.

Court Documents (click link to view .pdf)
Brief Amicus Curiae- Albemarle County Circuit Court


Rebecca Glenberg, ACLU of Virginia; Rachel Levinson, American Association of University Professors; Josh Wheeler, The Thomas Jefferson Center for Protection of Free Expression

Date filed

August 18, 2010


Albemarle County Circuit Court