EPA shields information regarding administrator’s secret email account

The Environmental Protection Agency is blocking the release of key information around an alias email account used by its previous secretary by inappropriately applying a Freedom of Information Act exemption, three Republican lawmakers say.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith (R. Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and Sen. David Vitter (R., La.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee wrote a letter to the EPA’s inspector general yesterday requesting he broaden his ongoing investigation into the EPA to examine whether the agency improperly used FOIA exemptions.

The EPA’s inspector general has been investigating whether the agency “follows applicable laws and regulations when using private and alias email accounts to conduct official business,” according to the letter. The inspector general opened the inquiry at the request of Smith’s committee.

“Since this initial request was sent, it has come to our attention that EPA is invoking questionable Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exceptions to prevent the public from knowing the various email address(es) used by the administrator. Specifically, EPA has been improperly invoking Exemption 6 of FOIA to hide the email account name, the domain name, and the server used by Lisa Jackson in her capacity as administrator,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

Exemption 6 protects an individual’s “personal privacy interests” from being released through a FOIA request, according to the Department of Justice.

Read more at The Washington Free Beacon. By Andrew Evans.

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