Update: Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein responded via e-mail defending the need for the Civil Investigative Demand in the state's Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. 

"The CID 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," Gottstein wrote. "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."


Virginia legislators are introducing legislation that would limit the ability of the state’s attorney general to issue civil investigative demands, akin to subpoenas, in the wake of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s request for records from the University of Virginia related to the climatologist Michael Mann.

A bill from Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, would prohibit the attorney general from issuing the demands under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act when they relate to a matter of academic inquiry or research. Legislation from Donald McEachin, D-Richmond, would repeal the authority of the attorney general to issue the demands in certain circumstances.

Cuccinelli, a global warming skeptic, has sought documents related to Mann, a former University of Virginia professor associated with the infamous global warming "hockey stick" graph, to investigate whether he defrauded Virginia taxpayers by obtaining state grants for his research. A district court judge halted Cuccinelli’s effort in August, and the attorney general has since appealed to the state Supreme Court .