(December 3, 2010) More fallout over the University of Virginia’s mysterious conduct concerning the infamous hockey stick graph, the UN icon that purported to show that temperatures were steady over the last thousand years before shooting up in the last century.
The University of Virginia, which employed Michael Mann, the graph’s creator, and which received government funding that financed research for the graph, has been fighting attempts by investigators to learn its exact role in the entire affair. One of its manoeuvres: falsely telling a state lawmaker who requested information under the Freedom of Information Act that it no longer had access to the documents he requested.
That falsehood came to light after state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli decided to use the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act to compel the university to turn over documents related to Mann’s work. The university now admits it had the documents it refused to earlier divulge, but is still resisting handing them over.
To encourage the university and others to obey the law, a state legislator is introducing two bills. The first, available here, would make public employees who violate public information laws subject to fines and firing. The second, soon to be introduced, would thwart future cover-ups by public officials by requiring that all documents created by any public official be categorized at the time of their creation as either subject to public information laws or exempt from them.
Lawrence Solomon, December 3, 2010