It’s not a witch hunt; it’s pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.
The Washington Post reports:
Now that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s investigation into climate research has been tossed out of court, a similar case in Prince William County targeting the same ex-University of Virginia scientist moves into the spotlight. If the point of all this is to analyze and disseminate some 12,000 emails sent and received by scientist Michael E. Mann, then this case, using the Freedom of Information Act, has a far greater chance of success.
Climate researcher Michael E. Mann said his shared interest, with U.Va., in his e-mails means they can be released to him, but not to climate change skeptics. (Tom Jackman – The Washington Post) That’s because U.Va. apparently has already given the 12,000 e-mails to Mann himself, though he left Charlottesville years ago. The American Tradition Institute, the conservative group hoping to show that climate change scientists like Mann manipulated their data, argues that U.Va. can’t give the e-mails to one person and not another. By giving the emails to Mann, the university has waived any exemptions they’re claiming to the state Freedom of Information Act, ATI says.
You gave ‘em to him, you gotta give ‘em to us, basically. And a number of well-informed FOIA experts in Virginia say that ATI is right.
“I would agree with that,” said Megan Rhyne, executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government. “Once you turn it over in one venue, you’re deciding to give it out.”
Kevin Goldberg, a First Amendment and FOIA lawyer in Arlington, said, “I can see that the balance is now tipped in [ATI’s] favor. Now it’s up to the University to prove they can still withhold the material.”
But Mann thoroughly disagrees, as do his lawyers…