In case you missed the big story this weekend, the New York Times reported that climate science denier and right-wing favorite “Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics,” “accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers.” As a result, as the Washington Post puts it this morning, “Things just got very hot for climate deniers’ favorite scientist.” Of course, Soon is just the tip of the iceberg, as there’s a veritable industry of fossil-fuel-funded climate science deniers running around out there, befouling our public discourse, just as the dirty energy companies they’ve sold their souls to are befouling our air and water.
Anyway, as it turns out, our old pal Ken Cuccinelli, when he was (appallingly) Attorney General of Virginia and waging a witch-hunt against climate science (and specifically against leading climate scientist Michael Mann), was busy citing some of those fossil-fuel-funded climate science deniers. That includes, as you can see below (from Cooch’s “Civil Investigative Demand” against the University of Virginia, none other than…that’s right, Willie Soon, who was falsely smearing the meticulous research of Michael Mann and many other scientists on the famous “hockey stick” graph. Not that Cuccinelli acting like this comes as a big surprise, but still, it’s yet more evidence of how “in bed” with fossil fuel interests Cuccinelli was when he was Attorney General of Virginia. Now, can someone please explain to me why THAT is legal, even as Bob and Maureen McDonnell face possible jail time for their corrupt (but arguably, FAR less severe and damaging than Cooch’s) behavior?