Numerous Members of Congress have accused the Trump administration of being in violation of multiple federal laws due to its recent efforts to restrict federal agencies’ communications.
Two letters were sent on the matter.
One was written by Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) to White House Counsel Donald McGahn.
The Congressmen stated in the letter that the Trump administration appeared to be in violation of numerous federal laws, among which include the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act as well as a 1912 law which protects the right of federal employees to communicate with Congress. The latter law states that the rights of employees to petition a Member of Congress “may not be interfered with or denied.”
Cummings said this week that he wants to make sure federal employees know that they are free to talk to him, and he encouraged them to call him if they have any problems. “I’m telling you the law protects you and I will do every single thing in my power to make sure you’re protected. Call me. I want to talk to you,” said Cummings.
The second letter was sent by a dozen Senators to Donald Trump himself. They wrote in the letter, “We wanted to ensure that you are aware that it is against the law to interfere with federal employees communicating with Congress. It is also against the law to retaliate against career officials for following lawful policy directives.”
They went on to ask Trump to immediately reverse any directives that had been issued which limit agency communications and to give federal workers “the respect they deserve.”
The Associated Press reported earlier this week that emails were sent by the Trump administration EPA agency staff which banned EPA employees from sharing press releases, blog updates or posts to EPA’s social media accounts.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said this week in response to questions about whether the Trump administration was issuing directives to limit agency communications that “Nothing has come from the White House. They [federal agencies] haven’t been directed by us to do anything. From what I understand, they have been told within their agencies to adhere to their own policies, but that directive did not come from here [the White House].”
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