Washington, D.C., May 24, 2010—On Friday the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington, DC free-market think tank, filed a Request seeking records from the University of Virginia under that state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). CEI seeks, among other records, those elaborating UVA’s procedure and rationale for disparately maintaining and releasing faculty records, particularly those of certain faculty who have left the University. CEI also seeks certain other “Climategate”-related records.
Earlier this month UVA’s policies and practices regarding document retention and provision became the focus of national attention thanks to a distinct inquiry under a taxpayer protection statute by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. As has also become known, if the subject of less media interest, UVA has refused a FOIA Request for the files of former Associate Professor Michael E. Mann on the basis that Mann’s records were destroyed by virtue of his having left the school.
Inconsistently, however, UVA has acknowledged retaining, and is preparing to provide the pressure group Greenpeace with, files of former Research Professor Patrick J. Michaels. Michaels had worked in, and also departed, the same department as Mann. Michaels asserts that the school informed him that some people’s records are treated differently than others’. CEI expects to learn the basis for and means of such disparate treatment.
CEI Counsel and Senior Fellow Christopher C. Horner, who filed the Request, states “Given what we know we about UVA’s practices we are curious about their internal policies and deliberations, among other issues apparently made relevant by the University’s inconsistent words and deeds. For example, have they considered possible taxpayer exposure to claims of ‘malice’, for example?”
In the same letter CEI also requested certain records produced, received or held by three faculty still working in the same department , including those mentioning key words such as “ClimateGate”, “Greenpeace” and, of course, “FOIA” and “Michaels”.
You can read CEI’s FOIA Request here.
You can read Christopher Horner’s op-ed in yesterday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch on the matter, here.
CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest group that studies the intersection of regulation, risk, and markets.