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Pallone & Cummings Seek Answers on Trump Transition’s DOE Questionnaire

Dec 14, 2016
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) today sent a letter to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the head of the Trump transition team, seeking answers after the transition team sought to identify Department of Energy (DOE) employees and contractors who worked on or participated in international climate talks. 

“We are concerned that these efforts may be an attempt to apply an ideological ‘litmus test’ to career civil servants, which runs counter to the principles of a merit-based civil service and the prohibition against discrimination against civil servants on the basis of political affiliation,” Pallone and Cummings wrote.

The members continued, “We are concerned that these efforts to single out particular Department employees involved in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may be an attempt to target DOE employees whose scientific views on climate change differ from those of the incoming Trump Administration.  While the new Administration is entitled to select political appointees who share the President-Elect’s views on climate change, any effort to retaliate against, undermine, demote, or marginalize civil servants on the basis of their scientific analysis would be an abuse of authority.”

The two Democratic committee leaders asked the transition team to provide the memorandum and questionnaire sent to DOE, as well as any similar requests that were sent to other federal agencies seeking the identification of civil service personnel in order to obtain the political policy opinions of individual civil servants.

A copy of the letter is available here.