Congress calls out EPA on secret email addresses
KEVIN DANIELSEN NOVEMBER 18, 2012 6:17 AM
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson
In a move to limit the ability for government organizations to work behind closed doors, Congress has demanded that the EPA keep its communications open to the public.
However, the EPA has decided to circumvent Congressional demands, creating ‘secret email accounts', which has allowed them to communicate without public oversight.
This action, says the Washington Times, could be highly illegal:
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.
Congress is now demanding access to those email accounts. ‘Richard Windsor' was one such alias that was used by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Ms. Jackson's secret email account is just the tip of the iceberg, as the researcher who blew the cover on ‘Richard Windsor', Christopher Horner, has also uncovered that many EPA bureaucrats are switching over to private Gmail accounts to cover their tracks. The report writes:
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."
"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."
Even worse, this problem does not only permeate the EPA, but is systemic throughout the federal government and White House Departments as far back as the Clinton administration. It seems rather clear that the folks in these bureaucracies are definitely trying to keep their dealings away from Congressional and public oversight:
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.
This practice has in no way abated during the Obama administration, again, tarnishing the President's claims of maintaining an administration based on transparency. However, if the White House does call for these ‘secondary' email addresses to be turned over to Congress, that may restore the Obama administration's credibility on the matter.
Until then... we wonder why the EPA and other government organizations even need this kind of secrecy. What have they to hide from the public eye?