Lisa Jackson’s forthcoming departure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a major victory for transparency and accountability in Washington.
After years of whispers that EPA officials frequently used private email addresses, fake names and coded messages to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, Jackson admitted recently to using “Richard Windsor” as her chosen nom de plume on a government email account.
That was her choice because it reminded her of a much-beloved family pet, she claimed. (At least she didn’t ask how anybody could suspect a puppy lover like her of any wrongdoing.) The EPA inspector general opened an investigation into the matter because it is against federal law to use nonofficial or secret email addresses to conduct official business.
The EPA IG could hardly do otherwise. The use of private or secret emails enables high government muckety-mucks like Jackson to hide things about which they don’t want the rest of us to know. But we don’t need an investigation to know officials have been hiding bad things within the EPA for a very long time.
During the Clinton years, Carol Browner (a former senatorial aide to Vice President Gore) headed the EPA. She ordered the hard drive on her government computer to be reformatted and all backup tapes destroyed, just hours after a federal judge ordered her agency to preserve all agency email records. Only hopelessly naive or blindly partisan folks took seriously Browner’s doe-eyed claim that it was all just a big mistake and she certainly wasn’t trying to cover up anything. Nothing to see here, so move along, folks.
Read more at The Washington Examiner. By Mark Tapscott.