A group of Democratic senators is pushing federal officials to investigate a questionnaire from President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE's transition team aimed at Department of Energy (DOE) employees’ climate work.
In a letter to the independent Office of Special Counsel, nine Democrats said the Trump team's request, sent last week, appears to “have violated long-standing federal laws designed to protect civil servants against coercion for partisan purposes.”
“We ask that you take immediate action to review these deeply troubling requests,” said the Democrats, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.).
Trump’s DOE transition team sent agency officials a letter last week asking them to name employees involved in President Obama’s climate change work.
Department officials refused the request Tuesday. The transition team distanced itself from the questionnaire, saying it “was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled.”
Even so, Democrats were angered by the request, saying it raises concerns about retaliatory actions against employees who have worked on climate issues during the Obama administration. Trump does not believe the science behind climate change, and he has said he will undo Obama’s climate work once he takes office.
The Office of Special Counsel investigates issues that impact federal employees and government personnel practices. The senators said the Trump team’s letter could violate federal law and that it should be investigated.
“We are alarmed by the requests in the Energy Department questionnaire because they strongly appear to be motivated by partisan political purposes, which are forbidden by [the law] and are therefore impermissible actions by transition officials,” the Democrats wrote in their letter to Office of Special Counsel head Carolyn Lerner.
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