President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team claims it never “authorized” a questionnaire requesting the Department of Energy provide names of employees attending climate change conventions.
“The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol,” a Trump transition official told reporters Wednesday. “The person who sent it has been properly counseled.”
The 74-point questionnaire asks for the identities of employees instrumental in developing climate policies. DOE employees provided The New York Times with the list under the promise of anonymity.
“Can you provide a list of all Department of Energy employees or contractors who have attended Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon meetings?” reads one of the questions. “Can you provide a list of when those meetings were and any materials distributed at those meetings, emails associated with those meetings, or materials created by Department employees or contractors in anticipation or as a result of those meetings.”
Former Energy Department officials told reporters such questions are not unusual — in fact, they are often par for the course, especially during a transition period. But it’s strange to demand the identification of specific officials helping to craft climate policy, the officials said.
The Trump transition team’s about-face on the questionnaire comes after the DOE refused to comply with the request Tuesday; Democrats called the list a type of “political witch hunt.”
“We will be forthcoming with all publicly-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team,” DOE spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder told reporters Tuesday.
Environmental activists began spreading false rumors that Trump would start a purge of the DOE’s public climate change databases.
The transition team did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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