Labor Secretary Tom Perez said that it was unlawful for the Trump transition team to request the names of individual staffers employed at government agencies like the Energy Department, CBS News reported Tuesday.
“Those questions have no place in a transition,” Perez said, according to CBS. “That is illegal.”
“Will dedicated career people be targeted because they were doing the right work?” he added.
In mid-December, the Department of Energy rejected Trump staffers’ request of a list of all staffers who worked on climate policy in the Obama administration. A DOE spokesman touted the “important work” done by the department and said the inquiry “left many in our workforce unsettled.”
The transition team later disavowed the questionnaire requesting employees’ names, saying it was “not authorized or part of our standard protocol.”
Yet last week it asked the Department of Homeland Security for the names of staffers who work on programs to counter violent extremism.
A similar request made to the State Department for information on “gender-related staffing, programming and funding” was filled because it did not ask officials to identify employees by name.
Perez told CBS he wasn’t aware of “blanket questions” posed to the Labor Department about its staff or programs.
Asked by CBS to comment, a transition team spokesperson said, “the transition has a memorandum of understanding in place with the administration, and we continue to uphold both of our ends in this agreement.”