Subcommittee on the Environment Ranking Member Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) and Subcommittee Republicans sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan expressing serious concerns over Dr. Chris Frey, a high-level EPA political appointee, who maintains an affiliation with a Chinese university and previously worked as a consultant for the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Agency. Frey’s connections raise several red flags given his role in the Biden Administration and puts his office’s credibility in question, especially since it appears he intends to return to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology after his EPA service.
“We are conducting oversight of a senior Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official’s ties to China. Dr. Chris Frey, the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science Policy in the Office of Research and Development, continues to be affiliated with a Chinese university and previously served as a consultant for the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Agency,” wrote the lawmakers. “Dr. Frey maintains a connection with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), his previous employer. Instead of resigning his position with HKUST, he is only taking a leave of absence, indicating Dr. Frey intends to return to work for HKUST after his service in the Biden Administration. At a time when the Biden Administration is pushing for costly climate change ‘solutions’ that benefit China, it raises questions about why a senior EPA official has such strong ties to China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.”
In the letter, the lawmakers are also requesting information about any analysis the EPA conducted regarding whether Frey’s continued affiliation with HKUST runs afoul of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prevents any person that holds an official office from receiving gifts, payments, or titles from foreign governments.
“It is imperative that all officials at EPA, particularly senior political appointees, are taking their ethical obligations seriously and not using positions of public trust to benefit former employers or foreign governments,” concluded the lawmakers.
To better understand Frey’s relationship with China, the Republicans are seeking all documents and communications from January 20, 2021 to present, between Frey and anyone affiliated with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology or the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Agency.
-House Oversight GOP