OUT OF OFFICE, BUT UNDER SCRUTINY: An internal government watchdog is investigating after two former Trump administration officials apparently published papers purporting to be from the White House that promoted climate change skepticism.
“After careful consideration, we decided to review this matter further,” the inspector general’s office at the Commerce Department wrote to Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).
Hirono, along with several other Democrats, had asked for the investigation.
The New York Times first reported the probe on Friday.
The two Trump administration officials, David Legates and Ryan Maue, had been on detail at the White House when their names appeared on papers in a series that cast doubt on the science behind climate change and its impacts.
These papers purported to be copyrighted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) but appeared on a third-party website and were disavowed by the office.
Then-OSTP spokesperson Kristina Baum said in a statement posted on Twitter that Kelvin Droegemeier, who led the office at the time, “was outraged to learn of the materials that were not shared with or approved by OSTP leadership.”
“He first became aware of the documents when contacted by the press,” Baum said.
Following this, Legates and Maue were ousted from the White House and returned to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where they were initially hired.
An NOAA spokesperson declined to comment on the probe, but confirmed that the two officials left the government “on or before” Jan. 20, the day of President Biden’s inauguration, like other Trump political appointees.
Papers included in the series promoted discredited theories including one blaming climate change on the sun.
The paper attributed to Maue cast doubt on whether human-caused climate change was conclusively impacting hurricane activity in the Atlantic. There has been research finding that climate change is making hurricanes more intense.