I suppose it stands to reason that, if erstwhile EPA chief Lisa Jackson spent part of her tenure using an — er — shall we say, extracurricular e-mail account to quietly conduct EPA business and eclipse transparency laws in order to cloak the EPA’s job-killing agenda, some of the people with whom she was conspir–I mean, corresponded, probably had e-mail aliases, too. If the chief thought it was a good idea, why not get some of her lieutenants in on the scheme, too?
The EPA released the second tranche of Richard Windsor e-mails required by the FOIA request from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and subsequent lawsuit against the agency (nevermind that they withheld 900 e-mails from the first batch in January without much explanation), and Ranking Republican Sen. David Vitter on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today revealed some of their findings today. Turns out Richard Windsor wasn’t acting alone, emphasis mine:
The release shows that acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe used a private email account to conduct official business, similar to Region 8 Administrator, James Martin, who is the subject of an ongoing investigation launched by Vitter and U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (OGR) Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
Sen. Vitter also announced today that he has learned Martin is resigning this week, less than two weeks after hiring legal counsel and following a letter from Vitter and Issa. Read more about Vitter and Issa’s investigation into Martin here.
“Region 8 Administrator Martin is likely resigning this week in part because of the open investigation about his use of a non-official email account to conduct official business,” said Vitter. “Now we know that Lisa Jackson’s acting replacement, Bob Perciasepe, appears to have been doing the same thing to dodge the agency’s mandatory recordkeeping policy. EPA owes us all some answers about their absolute disregard for transparency, especially from their acting administrator or any potential nominee to be administrator.”
In documents obtained by Senate EPW and House OGR committees, Region 8 Administrator Martin used a non-official, me.com, e-mail account, which may have been an attempt to circumvent the Federal Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and Congressional oversight. The Richard Windsor email release shows that Bob Perciasepe was using a non-official, “perciasepe.org,” email account, too.
So, it turns out that multiple officials within the Obama administration may have been using ‘unofficial’ e-mail accounts to try to fly their controversial agenda beneath the radar of public notice and hide the agency’s pervasive “we do what we want, the costs be damned” attitude? Meh. Just a day in the life of the Obama administration, a.k.a., The Most Transparent Administration, Evah.
In terms of transparency, look, I’ve sat in that office for two years and helped make the decision to — for one thing on transparency, let’s lift on a monthly basis, the list of every person that walks in the White House. That was a big, big step, and one that seems easy now, but had never been done before we got in there. So, I think the level of transparency in this White House is different, but there’s no doubt there will always be tension here as long as there is a republic with a president and a working press corps.
Hear that, America? You have a list of every person who walks in and out of the White House. You should be so lucky.