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Prof. Michael Mann: “Real honor” to endorse Mark Herring for AG for his “brave stance” on climate


From the conference call a few minutes ago, here’s what Sen. Herring and Professor Michael Mann had to say. Bolding added by me for emphasis. This makes me very proud to be supporting and consulting for the Herring for Attorney General campaign!

Sen. Herring:

The reason I asked you all to join on the call today is because I think it’s important to talk about the incident that happened a few years ago in which Ken Cuccinelli led a witch hunt against Dr. Mann. This is important…first of all, it was one of two incidences early in Cuccinelli’s term that made me really start to consider running for Attorney General…it’s a clear example of what the wrong person with the wrong priorities who wants to push an extreme agenda can do in this office, and why it’s important that we Virginians elect someone who will put people first.

It is a crystal clear example that Ken Cuccinelli will disregard the law, disregard education, disregard research, disregard a professor, and disregard the reputation of both one of the finest institutions in the state – UVA – and the state as a whole, all to push his own extreme ideology.

I think Dr. Mann’s work is important, I believe in science, and believe that climate change is man made, and leaders need to start stepping up to the plate to address this problem. I also believe the Office of Attorney General is about problem solving and not politics. It should be about helping to keep Virginians safe, and not push an extreme agenda.

But that’s not what Ken Cuccinelli has done, and that’s not what the clones lining up to replace him believe. They are willing to use the office for scoring political points with the most extreme, right-wing faction of the Republican Party. And they believe that if you don’t agree with someone, you can just sue them and tie them up in litigation. That’s not the type of Attorney General I’ll be. I’ll get the politics out of the office and put the law first.

See the “flip” for Professor Mann’s statement, including his strong endorsement of Mark Herring for AG, based on the “brave stance that [Herring] took very early on, when my colleagues and I at the University of Virginia were subject to what the Washington Post called a witch hunt by the Attorney General.”

Dr. Mann:

Well, it’s a pleasure to be supporting Senator Herring. He was, in fact, one of the very first politicians who came out to defend me and the University of Virginia several years ago when Ken Cuccinelli engaged in this assault on us, on the University of Virginia, and on the scientific establishment in general…

What [Cuccinelli] did was completely unacceptable. Many have called it an abuse of power. It was an effort to discredit me, to attack me, through using a loophole of Virginia law to issue a civil subpoena based on the claim that because my…research on climate change and his view that the science of climate change is somehow fraudulent…

This was an excuse for him to use…to go after me, to go after the University of Virginia, it cost taxpayers in the state presumably hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to pursue this witch hunt. That’s money that could have been better spent in dealing with the very real work that has to be done to help Virginia adapt to climate change…the threat of sea level to Virginia’s coast line, to the naval fleet in Norfolk (the national security community is very concerned about that).

There are real things, important things that we could be doing, and that Virginians could be doing, and that their politicians could be helping them with. But instead, Cuccinelli went on this partisan witch hunt in an effort to discredit me and my science, because he doesn’t accept the reality of climate change even though it is the overwhelming consensus of the world’s scientists that climate change is real. Just the other day we passed 400 parts per million CO2 in our atmosphere for the first time in millions of years.

And, so, it’s a wake-up call that this is a real problem. We need to do something about it. We need a good-faith, honest debate among our policymakers about how to contend with this problem. But we can’t continue to bury our heads in the sand, as people like Cuccinelli would like to do. So, like I said before, it’s a real honor to be endorsing and supporting Senator Herring, because of the brave stance that he took very early on, when my colleagues and I at the University of Virginia were subject to what the Washington Post called a witch hunt by the Attorney General.


    Leesburg – Former University of Virginia Professor and climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann announced his support for State Senator Mark Herring’s bid for Attorney General. Mann has also written an opinion piece in the Huffington Post endorsing Herring.

    Mann was thrust into the national spotlight in 2010 when he became the target of one of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s expensive and unnecessary lawsuits. Cuccinelli issued a civil investigative demand – essentially a subpoena – demanding thousands of emails and documents related to Dr. Mann’s climate research. Cuccinelli used the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act to persecute Mann because he disagreed with his ideas and his conclusions.

    On a press call this morning with Democratic candidate for Attorney General State Senator Mark Herring and Mann discussed his ordeal and why the Attorney General matters in Virginia.

    Audio of the call is available upon request.

    “Senator Mark Herring was the very first elected official to stand up to defend me and condemn Cuccinelli’s smear campaign,” Dr. Mann stated. “He showed the kind of integrity and intellectual honesty sorely missing from the Attorney General’s office. And now he’s running for the very same office Cuccinelli abused over the last four years. Ken Cuccinelli showed why the Attorney General matters in Virginia. With someone like Cuccinelli, he puts his politics first. Mark Herring has proven that he has the courage to stand up and do what’s right, and put the law first.”

    Cuccinelli spent $500,000 in taxpayer money to attack Dr. Mann and the University of Virginia. In 2012, the Virginia Supreme Court threw out Cuccinelli’s inquiry, saying that Cuccinelli lacked the authority to subpoena the records he was after.

    “Ken Cuccinelli used his legal power as Attorney General to orchestrate a witch-hunt meant to smear and discredit a scientist conducting research, all for his own personal political benefit. That’s wrong and Cuccinelli was wrong,” Herring stated.

    Senator Herring shared how Dr. Mann’s ordeal was many Virginians first glimpse at how Cuccinelli would conduct himself in office.

    “Cuccinelli’s persecution of Dr. Mann because of his ideas was among his actions that first got me thinking about seeking the office of Attorney General,” Herring stated. “It was a beginning of a pattern by Cuccinelli of bending and twisting the law to try to impose his extreme ideology on Virginia.”

    “Virginia is ready for fundamental change in the office of Attorney General,” Herring stated. “Virginians want an Attorney General who actually believes in science; an Attorney General who won’t abuse the powers of the office to persecute someone he disagrees with.”

    Herring went on to talk about his potential Republican opponents.

    “The Republicans running to replace Cuccinelli have said the Attorney General has not gone far enough in using the office to promote their type of extreme agenda,” Herring said. “They are clones of Ken Cuccinelli. They don’t believe in science, they deny climate change and their victory would mean more attempts to silence opponents and push forward an extreme agenda.”

    Dr. Mann urged Virginians to take a hard look at who they want to succeed Ken Cuccinelli in the Attorney General’s office.

    “Mark Herring’s election would serve as a clear, unequivocal rejection of Cuccinelli’s style of politics and a return to thoughtful, responsible governing,” Mann stated. “If you believe it’s wrong for law enforcement to try to silence opposition, than you should care about the Virginia Attorney General’s race and you should care about electing Mark Herring.”

  • Virginia_Dem

    This is great. What Cuccinelli and his cronies have done in this state is absolutely insane. I’m glad Herring is continuing to push these issues and remind voters about what’s at stake in this election. He has not hesitated to go after these guys and hold them accountable for their extreme policies they’ve pushing for years, their corruption, and for their overt politicization of everything. Glad to see Herring is stepping up.