Posted: December 1, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Economics, Politics, White House | Tags: Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Donald Trump, Environment, EPA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Presidency of George W. Bush, Regulations, Republican Party (United States)
The Regulatory Gray Goo Nightmare
Paul Bedard reports: The new implementation of EPA rules on heavy trucks has boosted the 10-year regulatory burden on America past $1 trillion, 75 percent of which have been imposed by the Obama administration.
That amounts to a one-time charge of $3,080 per person, or an annual cost of $540, according to a new analysis from American Action Forum.
“In other words, each year every person, regardless of age, in the nation is responsible for paying roughly $540 in regulatory costs. These burdens might take the form of higher prices, fewer jobs, or reduced wages,” said AAF’s Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the watchdog group.
The staggering amount is likely to surge even higher as President Obama scrambles to lock in several environmental regulations before leaving office. He has already broken records for new regulations and added red tape this year and still has 50 days in office.
Incoming President-elect Trump has promised to kill two current regulations for every new one he adds.
[Read the full story here, at Washington Examiner]
The new high in regulatory costs, said Batkins, came after new fuel standards for trucks were implemented. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 20, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Politics, White House | Tags: American Action Forum, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, EPA, Gina McCarthy, Regulation, Regulatory Dark Matter, Republican Party (United States), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, White House
At federal agencies across Washington, regulators are rushing to finalize rules before President Barack Obama leaves the White House.
Where the administration has issued an average of 2.2 rules per day this year, 10 were pushed out the door on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a count by the American Action Forum.
“We’re running — not walking — through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said to agency staff in a post-election e-mail.
The Federal Register, the dense tome where the government publishes new agency rules, swelled to 1,465 pages on Friday — the thickest volume yet this year. Since the Nov. 8 election of Donald Trump, who has vowed to fight “radical regulations,” the White House has finished reviews of nine economically significant rules — compared to eight during all of September.
One reason for the speed: The later a regulation is released by an outgoing administration, the easier it can be killed by the next one. Republican lawmakers are on track to adjourn early to take advantage of a measure intended to guard against so-called midnight rule-making that permits them to void regulations put in place in the last 60 days of the legislative session. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 1, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Law & Justice, White House | Tags: Bakken Formation, Clean Water Act, Des Moines, EPA, Iowa, Iowa Utilities Board, Land tenure, North Dakota, Pipeline transport, South Dakota, Supreme Court, The Des Moines Register, United States Army Corps of Engineers
Natalie Johnson reports: The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that landowners can appeal to a federal court when the government subjects their property to wetlands
regulations requiring additional permits.
“For more than 40 years, millions of landowners nationwide have had no meaningful way to challenge wrongful application of the federal Clean Water Act to their land.”
The unanimous ruling determined that the Clean Water Act “imposes substantial criminal and civil penalties for discharging any pollutant into waters” covered by federal regulations without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“They have been put at the mercy of the government because land covered by the Act is subject to complete federal control. This victory guarantees the rights of millions of property owners.”
— Principal Attorney M. Reed Hopper
The decision could weaken the Obama administration’s environmental agenda.
The Corps is in charge of assessing whether a landowner’s property contains “waters of the United States” or “navigable waters,” which are protected under the Clean Water Act. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 2, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, U.S. News | Tags: Aliso Viejo, Audi, California, EPA, Former Region 9 (Johannesburg), Inspector General, Office of the Inspector General, Research Triangle Park, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Volkswagen
Elizabeth Harrington reports: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave a new employee $9,000 in bonuses after less than three months on the job.
“The award justification stated that the director ‘…took extraordinary initiative to assist the Acting Chief Financial Officer in a final decision to transition the EPA to a fully automated invoice processing system…’”
The agency’s inspector general called the payments “unprecedented” in a new audit, and raised questions about how the EPA’s chief financial officer uses its power to award bonuses.
“On June 25, 2015—6 weeks later—OCFO gave the Director a second award for $4,500.”
The EPA intended to give the employee, a director at the Research Triangle Park Finance Center in North Carolina, a third bonus but decided against it after the inspector general began their investigation.
The investigation began after a complaint that the newly hired director was going to be paid $250,000 because they moved for the job. The relocation bonus was not paid, though one manager was “disappointed” the EPA did not spend a quarter of a million dollars to hire the employee.
“However, the Director did receive two individual cash awards of $4,500 each within [three] months of her start date,” the inspector general said.
[Read the full story here, at Washington Free Beacon]
“[The EPA’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer] OCFO’s unprecedented award of $9,000 in bonuses to a director less than [three] months after being hired raises questions about the reasonableness of the awards and how the OCFO uses the awards process,” they said.
The investigation found that the director was given the first bonus worth $4,500 in May, within six weeks of being hired. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 3, 2015 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: anti-science, Barack Obama, Coal, corruption, Environment, EPA, Foreign policy of the United States, Green Energy, John Kerry, Progressivism, propaganda, Treaty, United States, United States Congress, United States Constitution, United States Senate
Another Overreach from Obama’s EPA
“A few things are going on here. One is that the president is positioning himself to ride into Paris on a white charger when world leaders convene there to negotiate a broad emissions treaty — a treaty that the U.S. Senate under Republican control is unlikely to ratify. The ratification of the treaty is not the object; the rejection of the treaty is the object, giving Democrats a low-cost opportunity to engage in moral preening on the environment and to tsk-tsk Republicans and their purportedly anti-science attitudes. The second thing that this accomplishes is that coal companies, business organizations in coal-heavy states, and their political allies — not habitual friends of the progressive wing of the Democratic party — will be obliged to spend millions or billions of dollars and countless man-hours defending themselves against the new mandate, while hedge-funders long on politically connected green-energy companies — prominent sponsors of many Democratic endeavors — will be enriched.”
National Review Online
Posted: November 3, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Congress, Election 2014, EPA, Global Panic, Guantanamo, Israel, lame duck, Midterms, Netanyahu, Philip Klein, SCOAMF
Obama will be a lame duck president. Voters will have rebuked him and his policies. He’s pissed. How much damage will he do? As much as he can get away with
Philip Klein writes: No matter what the exact outcome of Tuesday’s elections, there is little doubt that President Obama will come out of it wounded.
Whether or not Republicans take over the Senate, they will certainly gain seats. Even if Democrats manage to eke out a victory that maintains narrow control of the chamber, it will only be because their candidates in close races did everything they could to distance themselves from Obama.
“…the relationship between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations ‘is now the worst it’s ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections’.”
Either way, Obama will be a lame duck president. Voters will have rebuked him and his policies. He won’t have the ability to pass major legislation, and the focus of the political world will quickly turn to candidates vying to replace him.
But being a lame duck president isn’t the same as being without power. On issues including healthcare, environmental policy, immigration, and national security, Obama has already displayed a willingness to bypass Congress to pursue his goals.
“Obama has already caved in to the Iranians on uranium enrichment, plutonium development, and its missile program. And the New York Times has reported that if a final agreement with Iran is reached, Obama ‘will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it’.”
If there were anything holding him back up to this point, it was either that he was facing re-election or he was somewhat hesitant to weaken Democratic chances in an election year that would determine the composition of Congress during his last two years in office.
But his name won’t be on the ballot in 2016 and he won’t have to deal with the Congress that gets elected that year, either. This means he has every reason to take more aggressive executive actions.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 7, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Darrell Issa, EPA, Office of Inspector General, United States Environmental Protection Agency, United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
EPA Employees Not Fired For Watching Pornography, Theft.
“This individual spent four consecutive hours on a site called ‘sadism is beautiful’. You are running an organization from which no one can get fired.”
— Rep. Darrell Issa
For The Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch writes: The Environmental Protection Agency has not been firing employees for watching pornography and falsifying federal documents, according to California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa.
“How much pornography would it take for an EPA employee to lose his job?”
Issa asked EPA officials, including the agency’s second-in-command, testifying before the House Oversight Committee. Issa chairs the committee.
Issa was pressing EPA officials to answer his question on whether or not falsifying documents is a crime. It is a crime, but Issa wanted an answer from the panelists. The EPA officials testifying before the House Oversight Committee struggled to answer Issa’s questions about agency employees falsifying federal documents by saying they are working while they were not.
An EPA employee has been viewing pornography while at work, and has even received performance awards for his time at the agency. The employee was even watching porn when inspector general agents visited his office. The employee had 7,000 porn files on his computer and had been watching porn for two to six hours per day since 2010. This employee still works at the EPA. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 6, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Science & Technology, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Bob Perciasepe, EPA, United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Environmental Protection Agency, United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks to the Associated Press during an interview at her office in Washington.
Dina Cappiello reports: A unit run by President Barack Obama’s political staff inside the Environmental Protection Agency operates illegally as a “rogue law enforcement agency” that has blocked independent investigations by the EPA’s inspector general for years, a top investigator told Congress.
“Under the heavy cloak of ‘national security,’ the Office of Homeland Security has repeatedly rebuffed and refused to cooperate with the OIG’s ongoing requests for information or cooperation.”
— Assistant EPA inspector general for investigations Patrick Sullivan
The assistant EPA inspector general for investigations, Patrick Sullivan, was expected to testify Wednesday before a House oversight committee about the activities of the EPA’s little-known Office of Homeland Security.
Not directly related, but the title is too good to pass up. Good wisecrackery from Sarah Hoyt:
NOT SCIENCE. IT’S A CHEAP CHINESE RESTAURANT: Let’s Call It ‘Climate Disruption,’ White House Science Adviser Suggests (Again). Like
liberalism, socialism, progressivism, this things keeps changing names when people catch on. Also, and for the record “climate disruption” was something all my New Agey friends talked about back in the nineties. If Al Gore starts chanting Age of Aquarius, I’m going to really freak out.
The office of about 10 employees is overseen by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s office, and the inspector general’s office is accusing it of impeding its independent investigations into employee misconduct, computer security and external threats, including compelling employees involved in cases to sign non-disclosure agreements. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 22, 2013 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Self Defense, U.S. News | Tags: Ammunition, Doe Run Company, EPA, Herculaneum, Lead smelter, National Rifle Association, Picatinny Arsenal, United States Environmental Protection Agency
Perry Chiaramonte writes: When the last bullet-producing lead smelter closes its doors on Dec. 31, it will mark a major victory for those who say lead-based ammunition pollutes the environment, but others warn ‘green’ bullets will cost more, drive up copper prices and do little to help conservation.
The bid to ban lead bullets, seen by some as harmful to the environment, started slowly more than a decade ago. But with two dozen states, including California, banning bullets made of the soft, heavy metal, the lead bullet’s epitaph was already being written when the federal government finished it off.
First, the military announced plans to phase out lead bullets by 2018.
“Whatever the EPA’s motivation when creating the new lead air quality standard, increasingly restrictive regulation of lead is likely to affect the production and cost of traditional ammunition.”
– National Rifle Association
Then the federal Environmental Protection Agency, citing emissions, ordered the shutdown of the Doe Run company‘s lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo., by year’s end.
Whether by state or federal regulation, or by market forces, lead bullets will be all but phased out within a few years in favor of so-called green bullets, experts say. While many believe that this will help the environment by keeping lead from contaminating groundwater, others say switching to copper-based bullets will cost hunters and sportsmen more and have little effect on the environment.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 16, 2013 Filed under: Mediasphere | Tags: Beale, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, EPA, Inspector General, John Kern, Pakistan, United States Environmental Protection Agency
Former high-ranking Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official John Beale testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Oct. 1, 2013.
Michael Isikoff reports: The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors.
John C. Beale, who pled guilty in September to bilking the government out of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits over a decade, will be sentenced in a Washington, D.C., federal court on Wednesday. In a newly filed sentencing memo, prosecutors said that his lies were a “crime of massive proportion” that were “offensive” to those who actually do dangerous work for the CIA.
Beale’s lawyer, while acknowledging his guilt, has asked for leniency and offered a psychological explanation for the climate expert’s bizarre tales.
“With the help of his therapist,” wrote attorney John Kern, “Mr. Beale has come to recognize that, beyond the motive of greed, his theft and deception were animated by a highly self-destructive and dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior.” Kern also said Beale was driven “to manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives … that are fueled by his insecurities.”
The two sentencing memos, along with documents obtained by NBC News, offer new details about what some officials describe as one of the most audacious, and creative, federal frauds they have ever encountered.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 12, 2013 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, U.S. News | Tags: Beale, Central Intelligence Agency, Darrell Issa, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, Robert Brenner
Lenny Bernstein and Ann E. Marimow report: Investigators for the Environmental Protection Agency are reviewing the activity of another high-level official in the agency’s Air and Radiation Office to determine whether to forward the case for possible prosecution, according to congressional aides briefed on the matter.
Investigators for the EPA’s inspector general’s office described the woman as a “person of interest,” according to the aides. She approved many of the lavish travel and lodging expenses run up by John C. Beale, the EPA executive who has pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of nearly $900,000 in pay, bonuses and travel reimbursement while he masqueraded as a CIA agent. Beale is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.
All three of then-Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy’s deputies in the Office of Air and Radiation have come up in the investigation: Beale; Robert Brenner, a longtime friend of Beale’s who acknowledged accepting an $8,000 discount on a luxury car allegedly arranged by a lobbyist who did business with the EPA; and the woman who approved Beale’s travel.
The woman “was making the majority of the decisions and authorized the actions that enabled” the fraud, said one person briefed about the investigation, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the report had not been made public yet.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 10, 2013 Filed under: Law & Justice, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, Barack Obama, Clean Water Act, EPA, Greenhouse gas, United States, United States Environmental Protection Agency, White House
Is Isn’t Our Land. It’s It isn’t made for You and Me.
Happy holidays from the Obama administration
Federal agencies are currently working on rolling out hundreds of environmental regulations, including major regulations that would limit emissions from power plants and expand the agency’s authority to bodies of water on private property.
On Tuesday, the White House released its regulatory agenda for the fall of 2013. It lists hundreds of pending energy and environmental regulations being crafting by executive branch agencies, including 134 regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency alone.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 5, 2013 Filed under: Crime & Corruption | Tags: Beale, David Vitter, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, John W. Kern, United States Environmental Protection Agency
The headquarters of the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C.
Over the past 12 years, John C. Beale was often away from his job as a high-level staffer at the Environmental Protection Agency. He cultivated an air of mystery and explained his lengthy absences by telling his bosses that he was doing top-secret work, including for the CIA.
Now, Beale is charged with stealing nearly $900,000 from the EPA by receiving pay and bonuses he did not deserve. He faces up to three years in prison.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 23, 2013 Filed under: Economics, Mediasphere | Tags: Bakken Formation, Encana, EPA, Hydraulic fracturing, Matt Mead, Pavillion, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Wyoming
EPA Covers Up The Safety Of Fracking
Energy Policy: The Environmental Protection Agency declines to have outside experts review its study claiming water contamination from fracking in Wyoming. Why confuse an analysis based on ideology with the facts?
As we noted in December 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from environmental groups, tried to manufacture a crisis in which hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was said to have contaminated test wells in Pavillion, Wyo. Those claims and others made in the six-decade history of the technology’s use have repeatedly proved groundless.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 11, 2013 Filed under: Mediasphere | Tags: Chris Horner, Competitive Enterprise Institute, EPA, Freedom of Information Act, Lisa P. Jackson, Natural Resources Defense Council, Richard Windsor, United States Environmental Protection Agency
MARY KATHARINE HAM brings this:
1) The EPA gave an ethics award to fake employee, “Richard Windsor,” who was already just an unethically created e-mail alias for the agency’s former head, Lisa P. Jackson.
HotAir’s covered this story several times, but it really escalated to a point I don’t think I would have even concocted for a fictional account of government stupidity for fear it might feel like a reach. But government stupidity, undaunted by such a challenge and unbound by the limits of my imagination indeed awarded the “scholar of ethical behavior” award, among other professional recognitions, to a dude who does not exist and was created merely to unethically circumvent FOIA requests.
As the result of the persistence of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in pursuing their Freedom of Information Act requests, we found out late last year that Jackson had been using an epa.gov email account under the name of “Richard Windsor,” and that in practice it looked an awful lot like a deliberate attempt by Jackson to fly beneath the transparency radar when communicating about costly and publicly controversial EPA ideas and initiatives. Even better, it now looks like the EPA awarded the non-existent Richard Windsor with several of the oh-so-august bureaucracy’s required workplace certifications
As Erika wrote, this is real life.
2) The EPA makes conservatives pay a fortune for FOIAs to be granted while waiving fees for liberal groups.
According to research from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, whose fellow Chris Horner uncovered “Richard Windsor:”
Specifically, CEI asserts that the EPA is waiving FOIA fees for what it describes as left-wing groups – like the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and EarthJustice – while it “systematically denies waivers for groups on the right,” according to CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner.
Horner said his research shows that from January 2012 to Spring 2013 the fees for “green” groups were waived in 75 out of 82 cases. Meanwhile, the EPA effectively or expressly denied his request for fee waivers in 14 of 15 FOIA instances over this same time period. Horner’s appeals of the EPA decisions to deny his fee waivers were rejected.
Further review, Horner said, established that “green” groups proved successful in getting their fees waived 92 percent of the time.
As Gabe notes, the EPA is kindly “considering” an investigation into this matter. Most transparent administration evah. More pressure, please, Congress!
3) EPA contractors are basically Gym, Tan, Laundrying in new, swanky rec rooms thanks to your tax money.
In a huge Environmental Protection Agency warehouse in Landover, enterprising workers made sure that they had all the comforts of home. They created personal rec rooms with televisions, radios, chairs and couches. On the walls were photos, calendars and pinups. For entertainment, they had books, magazines and videos. If they got hungry, they could grab something from a refrigerator and pop it into a microwave.
The crown jewel of their hideaway — which stored EPA office furnishings — was a 30-by-45-foot athletic center, cobbled together from “surplus” EPA gym equipment and decked out with a music system provided via “other agency inventory items,” according to a recently released inspector general’s report.
All of it was carefully hidden from security cameras by partitions and piles of boxes set up by the workers, employees of Apex Logistics, the contractor that ran the warehouse until the EPA severed ties after learning of the situation last month.
4) The EPA leaked confidential information on farmers and cattle facilities to environmental groups. No bigs.
For your NOM-IRS analogy, this one’s perfect:
According to a letter from a group of Senators to Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe, the EPA “released farm information for 80,000 livestock facilities in 30 states as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from national environmental organizations. It is our understanding that the initial release of data contained personal information that was not required by the FOIA request for ten states including Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio and Utah. This release included names and personal addresses.”
The Senators sent the letter Friday to express concern over the sensitivity of the data that was released to groups like Earth Justice, Pew Charitable Trust and Natural Resources Defense Council and to ask how the EPA plans to protect the data of farms and ranches that are also homes to families.
via Hot Air
Posted: June 7, 2013 Filed under: Mediasphere | Tags: Apple, Bob Perciasepe, EPA, Freedom of Information Act, Internal Revenue Service, Lisa Jackson, National Organization for Marriage, United States Environmental Protection Agency
If the news weren’t so saturated with scandals right now, the broadcast evening newscasts would have had a different segment each night this week on the EPA. As we were doing the podcast last night, Drew, Andy and I tried to recount them all and actually came up short on the first try. There’s just that many.
I’d really like to keep the EPA scandals in the spotlight because they run the gamut from basic bureaucratic waste, to malicious politically-motivated abuse, to direct malfeasance by the EPA’s highest appointee. Here they are:
(1) EPA awarded former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’salias, Richard Windsor, an ethics award.
Yes, a fake person — an alias created to avoid disclosure obligations and keep Lisa Jackson from having to read all the email in her actual email account — won an ethics award.
There’s two immediate take-aways to this scandal. First, it’s right at the top. None of the standard Obama Administration excuses — “it was a low-level employee; I was never informed” or “I do so many of these, I don’t even read them” — will work here. Jackson knew, she was complicit, and now she’s conveniently gone — the beneficiary of a cushy job at Apple just days after Democrats haled the company into hearings to browbeat it for obeying tax law.
Second, it demonstrates the empty “meritocracies” of the bureaucracy. Windsor’s name was on a list for completing a mandatory annual requirement, so of course “he” got an award.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 5, 2013 Filed under: Economics, Mediasphere | Tags: Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, Exercise equipment, General Services Administration, Landover Maryland, Secret passage, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Warehouse
…Like Avenging Bat-Men Who Have Dedicated Themselves to Goldbricking and Grabass
You know, Obama loves to praise Government Workers (e.g., his base), but Government Workers have a psychological profile, and it’s not “go getter” or “world beater.”
A warehouse maintained by contractors for the Environmental Protection Agency contained secret rooms full of exercise equipment, televisions and couches, according to an internal audit. EPA’s inspector general found contractors used partitions, screens and piled up boxes to hide the rooms from security cameras in the 70,000 square-foot building located in Landover, Md. The warehouse — used for inventory storage — is owned by the General Services Administration and leased to the EPA for about $750,000 per year. … “The warehouse contained multiple unauthorized and hidden personal spaces created by and for the workers that included televisions, refrigerators, radios, microwaves, chairs and couches,” the IG report said. “These spaces contained personal items, including photos, pin ups, calendars, clothing, books, magazines and videos.”
The EPA Administrator insists that “immediate, aggressive actions” be taken which means, per the Civil Service guidebook, “when we get to it, or thereabouts, circumstances permitting.”
Speaking of the psychological profile of the average government worker: these are people who seek security, not risk (and not hard work). I’m just curious, tangentially, about what could possibly impel risk-adverse, security-seeking, effort-avoiding Rogue Low-Level Frontline Employees in Cincinnati to make extra work for themselves and put their phony-balony jobs at risk.
A security-seeking employee only acts when his bosses tell him to.
Via The Conversation-Breitbart.com
Posted: October 2, 2012 Filed under: Reading Room | Tags: Christopher C. Horner, EPA, Freedom of Information Act, Freedom of information legislation, Government Accountability Office, United States Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Protection Agency officials are keeping mum today about a potential landmine of a lawsuit that claims senior executives there have used secret email accounts to conduct public business without being subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
The suit was filed last week by the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s senior fellow, Christopher C. Horner, Hans Bader, CEI’s counsel for special projects, and Sam Kazman, the conservative think tank’s general counsel.
In the suit, CEI asks the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to order EPA to produce “certain records pertaining to ‘secondary,’ non-public email accounts for EPA administrators, the existence of which accounts Plaintiff discovered in an Agency document obtained under a previous FOIA request.”
According to the CEI suit, the internal EPA memo, which was referenced in a Government Accountability Office report in 2008, described the secondary accounts as known only to “few EPA staff members, usually only high-level senior staff.”
Many such officials would be either presidential appointees or politically appointed members of the federal civil service system’s Senior Executive Service. The agency’s current boss, Administrator Lisa Jackson, was appointed by President Obama.
Federal law requires all government employees to use only official email accounts. If they do use a private account to do official business, however, they are required to make that available to their employing department or agency.
A spokesman for EPA declined to comment specifically on the CEI suit, offering only a statement on behalf of the agency: “EPA is strongly committed to transparency and strictly complies with open government laws such as the Freedom of Information Act. We will review this lawsuit closely and respond as appropriate.”
The think tank sued after filing three separate FOIA requests in May for documents related to the secret accounts. The agency has yet to produce any documents in response to the FOIAs…
More >> via WashingtonExaminer
(The existence of the secret email accounts is discussed at length in Horner’s new book, “The Liberal War on Transparency.” )