With Trump in the White House, Obama science experts operate shadow network to press their positions

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With Trump in the White House, Obama science experts operate shadow network to press their positions
Stat ^ | 8/7/17 | Lev Facher

Posted on 8/10/2017, 12:31:25 PM by ifinnegan

WASHINGTON — Nearly all of the Obama administration’s science staff has departed the White House since January, and the Trump administration has moved slowly to replace them. In the meantime, however, an unofficial shadow office, stocked with Obama loyalists, is quietly at work.

The network, described to STAT by officials from the previous administration who are involved, is informal yet organized, allowing for a far-reaching if largely inconspicuous effort to continue advocating for the Obama science agenda.

Participants have provided counsel to Democratic lawmakers and their staffs on Capitol Hill, and they have held group-wide strategy sessions much in the same fashion as they did when they worked out of a fourth-floor wing in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House.

On a practical level, there are ethical and legal restrictions over what former science officials can do. And in a city where former White House staffers can easily fall into the trope of an oppositional shill for an out-of-power boss, many have also been wary of making too big a splash.

“I’ve tried to keep a low profile in terms of my volunteer policy work,” said one former OSTP official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “If I’m advocating for something as a former Obama official, it might not be particularly effective.”

The conference calls have occasionally included a few Obama-era OSTP staffers who, at the time, were still working at the White House. Participants on the calls said those staffers were particularly careful about if and when they spoke.

(Excerpt) Read more at statnews.com

Source: With Trump in the White House, Obama science experts operate shadow network to press their positions

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