- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Congress demands EPA’s secret email accounts
Question of the Day
A House committee has launched an investigation into whether EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used an email alias to try to hide correspondence from open-government requests and her agency's own internal watchdog — something that Republican lawmakers said could run afoul of the law.
The science committee has asked Ms. Jackson to turn over all information related to an email account under the name of "Richard Windsor," which is one of the aliases identified by a researcher looking into the EPA.
The committee has also asked the White House's lawyer and EPA's inspector general to look into the matter and report back by the end of this month, saying that the secret email accounts could have been used to keep key information from official watchdogs as well as the public.
EPA did not respond Friday night to a request for comment.
The researcher who uncovered the "Richard Windsor" alias email, Christopher Horner, has repeatedly battled the administration over its global warming efforts.
Earlier this year he his colleagues at the Competitive Enterprise Institute sued to demand the release of emails from "secondary" accounts from EPA, and cited a memo saying the practice began during the Clinton administration under then-administrator Carol Browner.
Mr. Horner uncovered the existence of the secret emails while researching a book, "The Liberal War on Transparency," published last month. Mr. Horner said after the book came out, two former EPA officials told him about the "Richard Windsor" email and said it was "one of the alternate email addresses she used."
He said he has also discovered some EPA employees setting up private gmail accounts using their first and last names and the word EPA as a standard formula.
"They've been moving government over to private email," Mr. Horner told The Washington Times. "In the book, I reveal private servers the White House had universities and pressure groups set up so they can conduct discussions."
Federal open-records laws are designed to make information available to the public now, and to posterity at the National Archives, which collects official correspondence. There are strict rules on the use of email addresses, and the rules prohibit using private emails to try to circumvent open-records laws.
But news reports have revealed several instances where the White House and departments have used private emails to do business, including at the Department of Energy, where Jonathan Silver, the department's loan officer, "explicitly directed others to keep loan guarantee communications secret by not linking public and private email accounts, and sent emails detailing official government business using his private email account," according to the Science Committee.
In his letters to Ms. Jackson and three inspectors general, Science Committee Chairman Ralph Hall said at the very least the actions violate President Obama's vow to run a transparent administration.
"Unfortunately, time and again, actions by the administration on transparency have fallen far short of the president's rhetoric, in many instances trending away from transparency and toward greater secrecy," Mr. Hall wrote in a letter signed by five other lawmakers.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lois Lerner emails reveal gaping open-records loophole
- Two-thirds of illegal immigrant children approved for asylum: report
- Top Justice official denies conspiring with IRS on tea party targeting
- Boehner: No bill on border surge
- Taking Obama to court a long shot but lawsuit not folly, Congress is told
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- ISIL captured 52 U.S.-made howitzers; artillery weapons cost 500K each
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq