President-elect Donald Trump's transition team declared Wednesday that it had disavowed a 74-part survey sent to the Department of Energy requesting the names of civil servants working on climate change.
The questionnaire, which the agency received last week, asked specifically for the names of people who attended United Nations climate meetings and worked on the social cost of carbon, a metric used in crafting energy regulations, Reuters reported.
The survey also requested the names and recent works of employees at the Energy Department's 17 national laboratories.
“The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol,” Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said. “The person who sent it has been properly counseled.”
In addition to the department refusing to comply, the Obama administration responded to the unusual transition request.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the request “could have been an attempt to target civil servants.”
“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.
“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.”
Pallone and Cummings are Ranking members of the Energy and Commerce and Oversight and Government Reform committees, respectively.
Trump, who previously vowed to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, chose former Texas Gov. and climate change skeptic Rick Perry to serve as Energy secretary.