GOP Sens Accuse Biden Official of Threatening Whistleblower

GOP Sens Accuse Biden Official of Threatening Whistleblower an illustration of a whistleblower in a crowd (Dreamstime)

By Eric Mack | Wednesday, 06 April 2022 09:44 PM

A pair of Republican senators are calling out a Biden administration official for allegedly "retaliating against a potential whistleblower" with "bullying and intimidating behavior."

The revelations from Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Mike Braun, R-Ind., came in a Tuesday letter to President Joe Biden, as reported by The Washington Free Beacon.

The GOP senators called for the removal of Arthur Traynor, Chairman of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (FMSHRC).

"The allegations against Chair Traynor range from retaliating against a potential whistleblower to bullying and intimidating behavior," the letter obtained by the Free Beacon read. "First, we are aware that Chair Traynor recently put a longtime career employee on leave after this employee refused the Chair's instruction to secretly change FMSHRC's 40-year case assignment process.

"The employee informed the chair that the change was likely outside the chair's statutory authority and told other FMSHRC officials about the chair's plan. These officials agreed the chair didn’t have such unilateral authority as it would allow Chair Traynor to personally assign the lead attorney in every case, creating at a minimum the appearance of bias."

The letter used Biden's own personal vow to fire appointed government officials in his administration who do not comport themselves in a respectful manor.

"You have promised to fire any political appointee who engages in campaigns of bullying 'on the spot,'" the letter concluded. "Therefore, we request that Chair Traynor be immediately fired."

Among the allegations against Traynor include public disclosures of a "confidential work-product" and calling a colleague a "moron" and referring to two of them as "rogue" before leaving a public Zoom meeting before adjourning it, according to the letter.

"This is one of many reported examples of a hostile work environment perpetuated by Chair Traynor," it continued. "FMSHRC lacks an Office of Inspector General to review these matters which exacerbates the need for immediate and swift action."