Inhofe calls for investigation of researcher Michael Mann

Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma will ask the Justice Department to investigate Pennsylvania State University climatologist and White House adviser Michael E. Mann for his involvement in Climategate, Inhofe told The Daily Caller Monday night.

“They’ve been mocking me for years. Redemption is going to feel good,” Inhofe said in a phone interview.

‘Climategate’ is the name given by journalists to the events surrounding the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in which emails from researchers at CRU and other international climatologists were leaked to the web. The emails revealed discrepancies in the recording of climate change data, as well as contained poorly maintained computer code, and even allusions to the deletion of any information that could be acquired through Freedom of Information Act requests.

Citing the False Claims Act, which “prohibits certain types of activity generally involving claims for payment of money or receipt of property involving the federal government,” Inhofe, who is the ranking member of the Environmental and Public Works Committee, wants Mann investigated for his use of $500,000 in stimulus funds allotted for climate research. Inhofe suspects that any government funds Mann may have used in conjunction with the IPCC and the Climatic Research Unit would be a violation of the False Claims Act.

The Justice Department “will have to look at what’s happening at Columbia [University], and Penn State [University], and [University of] East Anglia,” Inhofe said, referring to the two American schools whose scholars were mentioned in the CRU emails. Penn State is currently conducting an investigation of Mann’s role in Climategate and has cleared him of many of the charges.

“Most of the Justice Department are Democrats,” Inhofe said when asked what sort of cooperation he expects from the White House. “But no one wants to go down with Obama over this.”

The request for an investigation into Mann will coincide with the release of a 84-page report on the Climategate e-mails, conducted by Inhofe’s office, and the beginning of budget hearings for the Environmental Protection Agency, which Inhofe says is using the IPCC and CRU data to push through greenhouse gas regulations. (In response to pressures from Inhofe and Blue Dog Democrats, EPA Director Lisa Jackson announced Monday night that the EPA had shelved those plans until 2011.)