DECEMBER 19, 2012
A key agency in the “most transparent administration in history” is being investigated for dodging potential public scrutiny and possibly congressional oversight by using bogus electronic mail accounts to conduct official business.
It involves the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its administrator, Lisa Jackson, the Obama appointee who has dedicated tens of millions of dollars to an “environmental justice” movement that helps minority communities get green. Each year the agency doles out cash to leftwing community groups that help poor, minority and indigenous people increase recycling, reduce carbon emissions through “weatherization,” participate in “green jobs” training and avoid heat stroke.
The thought of this major government agency conducting secret operations is downright scary not to mention illegal. But that could be exactly what’s going on at the EPA and now the agency’s watchdog is investigating at the request of Congress. In a memo addressed to Jackson and other high-ranking EPA mucky mucks, the agency’s inspector general announces its plans to begin an audit of “electronic records management practices.”
“Our objective is to determine whether EPA follows applicable laws and regulations when using private and alias email accounts to conduct official business,” the EPA Inspector General writes. The watchdog will specifically look into whether the agency promoted or encouraged the use of private or alias email accounts to conduct official business and whether employees comply with federal records management requirements pertaining to electronic records from private or alias email accounts.
The scandal was initially exposed by a researcher preparing to write a book. In thousands of emails Jackson appeared to use the name Richard Windsor on an official account that she utilized to conduct agency business. The researcher figured it out because he dug up an EPA memo indicating that alias email accounts were created by a former agency head and it appeared that this was common practice at the agency.
This clearly interferes with transparency, according to a Florida congressman who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “It is possible that other EPA officials are also using secondary email accounts and aliases for official business, and this could complicate the ability of Congress to conduct its oversight responsibility over the EPA,” said the lawmaker, Cliff Stearns, who represents north Florida.
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