Trump team disavows request for names of Energy staffers on climate programs

Trump team disavows request for names of Energy staffers on climate programs
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President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE’s transition team is distancing itself from a questionnaire that asked the Department of Energy (DOE) to name employees involved with President Obama’s climate change priorities.

Five days after numerous news outlets reported on the questionnaire, the transition team blamed a rogue employee for it.

“The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol,” a transition official told The Hill on Wednesday in a statement first reported by CNN. “The person who sent it has been properly counseled.”

The survey had set off red flags among DOE employees and congressional Democrats, who feared that it might be part of a “witch hunt” to improperly punish staffers who helped a previous president’s priorities.

It asked for the names of employees who attended international climate change negotiations and worked on developing the administration’s accounting method for the costs of climate change, among other questions.

The DOE said Tuesday that it would not comply with the transition team’s request for names, citing concerns among workers and leadership.

Nonetheless, the leading Senate and House Democrats in the committees overseeing the DOE were alarmed and asked for more details from Trump’s aides and the agency.

The transition team had previously avoided commenting on the questionnaire.

Trump promised on the campaign trail to roll back major climate regulations from Obama and take the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, and the DOE could play a role in those efforts.

Laws and regulations regarding civil service employees protect them from political interference and attempts to punish them for their beliefs, among other protections.

Trump formally announced Wednesday morning that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), a climate change doubter, would be nominated to lead the DOE.