EPA administrators invent excuses to avoid transparency

The Environmental Protection Agency is the latest Obama bureaucracy exposed for embarrassing efforts to avert transparency. Its administrator, Lisa Jackson, has been using the email alias “Richard Windsor” to conduct agency business, which might allow some policy conversations to avoid scrutiny and circumvent public records laws.

So far, the EPA has offered a two-part defense of such accounts, first revealed in my new book, “The Liberal War on Transparency.” First, everybody does it: “For more than a decade, EPA administrators have been assigned two official, government-issued email accounts: a public account and an internal account.” Second, the masses made us do it: the overwhelming volume of mail an administrator would receive from the public meant she needed an account she would actually read and write from.

Both excuses, though slight on detail, prove too much.

Consider what lies behind the anodyne phrase “for more than a decade.” While researching my book, I discovered a 2008 EPA memo to the national archivist reporting a records management problem. The agency had discovered “secondary” nonpublic email accounts for EPA administrators instigated earlier, under and with the active participation of Clinton-era EPA administrator Carol Browner.

That is remarkable because in 2000, a federal court ordered Browner to preserve her records — specifically her email — in a lawsuit filed by Mark Levin’s Landmark Legal Foundation. Although she later pled ignorance of the order, the next morning Browner instructed EPA information technology staff to erase her hard drive and backup tapes, as a computer contractor later testified.

Read more at The Washington Examiner. By Christopher Horner.

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