Virginia Democrats are mounting a coordinated campaign to undermine Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli -- using both the legislative process and old-fashioned constituent relations.

The new strategy comes in the wake of Cuccinelli’s successful lawsuit against Obamacare and ongoing pursuit of controversial climate change research.

This week lawmakers in the state Senate introduced legislation that would limit Cuccinelli’s ability to investigate allegations of fraud. 

Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) wants to protect academic work at publicly funded universities from Cuccinelli’s investigative demands. Cuccinelli is engaged in a dispute with the University of Virginia to obtain controversial documents from climatologist Michael Mann.

Another legislative proposal from Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) would make it even more difficult for Cuccinelli to conduct investigations. He would need to file a civil lawsuit, then have it reviewed by a judge, before he could issue subpoenas.

Outside of Richmond, Democrats are waging a public-relations campaign to counter Cuccinelli.

The Democratic Party of Virginia recently funded a “2011 constituent survey” sent to households with a question about Cuccinelli’s work. It asks respondents if they “support” or “oppose” the attorney general’s challenges to Obamacare and federal carbon emissions regulations, climate change investigation, restrictions on abortion clinics, and request to state-funded universities to remove references to sexual orientation from their campus policies.

Delegate Mark Sickles (D-Alexandria) was among the lawmakers who sent the survey to constituents. He justified the inclusion of the Cuccinelli question by claiming the attorney general has requested additional funding -- a point disputed by Cuccinelli's office.

At a town-hall meeting held in Sickles’ district last weekend, several attendees reportedly asked about Cuccinelli’s actions. Democratic Sens. Toddy Puller and George Barker participated in the meeting.

Cuccinelli appears undaunted by the attacks. He has defended his Obamacare lawsuit as consistent with Virginia’s Health Care Freedom Act, passed with bipartisan support last year. And his spokesman told the Washington Examiner that the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act gives Cuccinelli the authority to conduct his climate change investigation.

"The [Civil Investigative Demand] provides a subpoena authority that allows the attorney general to investigate allegations of fraud to determine whether fraud may have occurred, and, if so, to what extent," spokesman Brian Gottstein said. "The information gathered allows the attorney general to decide whether a case should go forward or whether he should move to dismiss the complaint. If the CID authority is taken away, that leaves the attorney general's office only with the option of filing suit and obtaining the additional information through the discovery process once the case is filed."