Democratic senators want federal investigators to open probes into whether President-elect Donald Trump’s team broke the law when it asked the Department of Energy to identify climate change warriors on staff.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and nine of his colleagues, wrote a letter Friday to the Office of Special Counsel demanding to know whether a questionnaire sent by the Trump team to the DOE Dec. 9 “violated long-standing federal laws designed to protect civil servants against coercion for partisan purposes.”
The 74-point questionnaire appeared to request, among other more innocuous things, a list of agency researchers and their peer-reviewed publications, professional society memberships, and the websites at which they contribute.
Blumenthal now believes Trump’s requests were against the law.
“We ask that you take immediate action to review these deeply troubling requests,” Blumenthal wrote.
Various Democratic Congressmen are also crying foul and demanding the real estate mogul — now president-elect — come clean about the questionnaire, namely whether his team made similar requests of other government agencies.
“Any effort to retaliate against, undermine, demote, or marginalize civil servants on the basis of their scientific analysis would be an abuse of authority,” Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings and Frank Pallone asked Trump’s transition team on Thursday.
They were referring to the possibility Trump was hoping to engage in a type of climate change purge.
The questionnaire has created a minor firestorm of controversy, especially among environmentalists terrified it could be the beginning of a type of pogrom against climate change data.
California Gov. Jerry Brown warned Trump on Wednesday that the Golden State would send its own “damn satellites” into orbit if the Trump administration shuts off the country’s climate satellites.
Trump has made no indication that he is interested in squashing research devoted to studying climate change — in fact, he has made comments suggesting he is open to listening to all sides of the issue.
The transition team, for its part, claims the much-ballyhooed questionnaire was unauthorized and sent by a rogue employee who has since been disciplined.
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