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EPA chief faces internal audit over secret email address

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The Environmental Protection Agency’s internal auditor has opened an investigation into whether the agency mishandled open-records requests related to Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s emails.

Acting at the urging of Congress, the agency’s inspector general sent a letter earlier this month announcing the audit. The investigation comes after researcher Christopher Horner revealed Mrs. Jackson had a secret email alias under the name “Richard Windsor” that she used to communicate with others in the Obama administration.

The EPA has acknowledged Mrs. Jackson’s secondary email but told the House science committee it’s the only way they can do business because her main address is listed publicly on the agency’s website and got 1.5 million messages last year.

“This practice of maintaining one staff-managed public email address and another secondary address for use by a high-profile individual is commonly employed in both the public and private sector,” Arvin Ganesan, the associate administrator, said in a letter to the science committee assuring lawmakers that they still abide by open-records requests or congressional inquiries.

He said the EPA redacts Mrs. Jackson’s alias and replaces it with the word “Administrator” when it releases documents that showed her secret account.

The committee has launched an investigation into the multiple email addresses and had asked the agency to provide a justification.

In a letter back to the EPA this week, committee members said that while a second email is understandable, “your choice to use a false identity remains baffling.”

Many public officials, including members of Congress, have secondary email addresses that still incorporate their own name.

The EPA email situation is now the subject of three investigations: one by the inspector general, one by the science committee and one by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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