WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is asking Energy Department employees detailed questions about the agency’s operations and personnel, including a list of employees and contractors who attended international meetings on climate change over the past five years.
The questionnaire also seeks a list of all political appointees and senior executives and asks workers to offer their opinions on who “owns” the department’s clean energy mission and other policy goals.
One Energy Department official, who asked not to be named, expressed concern about the 74 questions and said it appears Trump’s transition team is targeting officials who have helped implement Obama administration policies on issues from the Iran nuclear deal to the operations of national energy labs.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the questionnaire, which was first reported by Bloomberg News.
The document offers a window into how far the incoming Trump administration may go to reverse President Barack Obama’s worldview on pressing energy and climate policies. Obama’s allotted more than $90 billion in stimulus money to boost the clean energy industry to help shift the country away from foreign oil and create jobs.
The solar company Solyndra was the first company to get a federal loan guarantee under an existing program that Obama expanded under the stimulus. But the company failed soon after receiving the guarantee, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $500 million. Republicans and other critics have cited Solyndra as an example of wasteful spending under a program they say failed to boost the economy but drove up federal deficits.
The Trump transition questionnaire asks for a “full accounting of DOE liabilities associated with any loan or loan guarantee programs.” The team also wants a status report on the department’s recent issue of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for electric vehicles.
The questionnaire asks about the Energy Department’s role in the Iran nuclear accord, an international deal negotiated by the U.S. and other world powers that stalls the threat of Tehran developing atomic weapons in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. Trump railed against the agreement during the campaign, calling it “stupid,” a “lopsided disgrace” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.”
A series of the questions deals with the department’s network of national laboratories, which carry out long-term scientific and technological research. The questionnaire asks for the top 20 salaried employees of each lab and a list of “all other positions currently held by lab staff, paid and unpaid, including facilities, boards and consultancies?”