Trump Has Secret ‘Deregulation Teams’ With Deep Industry Ties To Dismantle Gov. Agencies: Report
The Trump administration may be embroiled in a series of scandals, but that isn’t stopping the 45th president from systematically dismantling government regulations wherever possible and slowly destroying safeguards put in place to protect Americans.
According to a joint report from The New York Times and ProPublica, Trump has quietly appointed 71 individuals to secretive “deregulation teams” with deep industry ties.
From the Times article:
“The appointees include lawyers who have represented businesses in cases against government regulators, staff members of political dark money groups, employees of industry-funded organizations opposed to environmental rules and people who were registered to lobby the agencies they now work for.”
At the Education Department alone, two members of the deregulation team were most recently employed by pro-charter advocacy groups or operators, and one appointee was an executive handling regulatory issues at a for-profit college operator.
At the Environmental Protection Agency, several employees have come forward and revealed how Trump is dismantling the agency. The fact that today’s EPA is wracked with internal conflict and industry influence and is struggling to fulfill its mission is hardly an anomaly.
Citing more than two dozen agency employees, Vox reports that political appointees brought in under the Trump administration are driving environmental policy. At least 16 of the 45 appointees worked for industries such as oil, coal and chemicals, as this CIP graphic shows. Four of these people — and another 21 worked for politicians who have questioned established climate science, such as Pruitt and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).
Pruitt has broken with tradition by forgoing many introductory briefings with career staff designed to help new administrators set priorities, several current and former employees said. Instead, he’s worked to roll back EPA rules, an effort that also diverges from common practice.
Career staff members — lawyers, scientists, analysts — are largely being frozen out of decision-making, employees say. These staffers rarely get face time with Pruitt and frequently receive top-down orders from political appointees with little room for debate. They must sometimes force their way into conversations about subjects in which they have expertise.
“I think it’s the fact that we’re not following regular procedures; we’re not sure of what the legal justification is for some of the things they’re asking us to do. We’re just kind of being told, ‘Do the opposite thing you did 18 months ago.’ That’s hard to swallow,” one employee said.
“Look, I think he does not support what the agency has been trying to do for 40 years,” said William Ruckelshaus, EPA administrator under Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. “He wants to dismantle — not improve or reform — the regulatory system for protecting public health and the environment.”