Making a List. Checking it Twice
January 6, 2017
This video more current than ever.
If you’re paying attention, you saw this a few weeks ago.
The Department of Energy is refusing the Trump transition team’s request to name those who have worked on climate change within the department, because of concerns about what the incoming administration will do with the names. President-elect Donald Trump has denied climate change is real.
NPR’s Jennifer Ludden tells our Newscast unit the request of such names was included in a 74-question document distributed to the agency’s workforce. Jennifer says, “The Trump team wants the names of career employees and contractors who have attended U.N. climate talks over the past five years. It also wants emails about those meetings.”
On Tuesday, the department released a statement saying the questionnaire had “unsettled” many in its workforce, that it would “be forthcoming with all [publicly] available information” but it would withhold “any individual names.”
Not the only list Trump wanted.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has asked two Cabinet departments for the names of government officials working on programs to counter violent extremism, according to a document seen by Reuters and U.S. officials.
The requests to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security involve a set of programs that seek to prevent violence by extremists of any stripe, including recruitment by militant Islamist groups within the United States and abroad.
Reuters could not determine why the Trump team asked for these names. The Trump team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump has frequently criticized President Barack Obama for not doing enough to battle Islamic militants and for his refusal to use the term “radical Islam” to describe Islamic State and other militant groups.
Some career officials said they feared the incoming administration may be looking to undo the work that the Obama administration has done on countering violent extremism.
“They’re picking a few issues to ask for people’s names,” said one government official who spoke on condition of anonymity, reflecting wider fears that those who worked on such issues could be marginalized by the new administration.
Earlier this month, Trump representatives had asked the U.S. Energy Department for the names of staffers who worked on climate change policy. The White House expressed concern that it may have been an attempt to target civil servants, including scientists and lawyers. The Energy Department balked at providing names and a Trump spokesman disavowed the request.
You might ask, so what? What can they do with the names? These people are protected in organizations.
House Republicans this week reinstated an arcane procedural rule that enables lawmakers to reach deep into the budget and slash the pay of an individual federal worker — down to $1 — a move that threatens to upend the 130-year-old civil service.
The Holman Rule, named after an Indiana congressman who devised it in 1876, empowers any member of Congress to propose amending an appropriations bill to single out a government employee or cut a specific program.
The use of the rule would not be simple; a majority of the House and the Senate would still have to approve any such amendment. At the same time, opponents and supporters agree that the work of 2.1 million civil servants, designed to be insulated from politics, is now vulnerable to the whims of elected officials.
The revival of the Holman Rule was the brainchild of Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), who is intent on increasing the powers of individual members of Congress to reassign workers as policy demands.
He favors a strategic application, likening it to a bullet from a sniper rifle rather than a shotgun. It’s unlikely — but not impossible — that members will “go crazy” and cut huge swaths of the workforce, he said.