Sens. Tom Carper, D-Delaware; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island; Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont; and Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, pressed two corporate executives tapped to lead offices at the Environmental Protection Agency on whether they are skirting the Senate’s constitutional advice and consent role and violating federal law by taking jobs at EPA before their nominations are confirmed by the Senate.

President Donald Trump nominated DowDupont lawyer Peter Wright to run the Office of Land and Emergency Management, which oversees some of the critical chemical cleanup work in the country and former Ford Motor Co. Executive Charles “Chad” McIntosh to run the Office of International and Tribal Affairs. The nominees are reportedly already occupying desks at the EPA, serving as “special counsel to the administrator,” and may be doing work that exposes the EPA to legal challenges.

“While you serve as ‘special counsel,’ it would be unlawful for you to assume any of the delegated authorities of each position,” the senators write to each nominee. “Your appointment runs the serious risk of circumventing the Senate’s constitutional advice and consent responsibility for the position to which you have been nominated. Your involvement in certain EPA decisions could provide grounds for subjects of EPA regulations and oversight to challenge the legal validity of those decisions in court.”

Full text of the letters to Wright and McIntosh can be found at and