James B. Martin, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 8 Administrator in Denver, used a private email account to conduct official business in possible violation of federal open government and record-keeping laws, The Washington Examinerhas learned.
“It appears that on at least one occasion you used an Apple me.com address, a non-official email account, to schedule an official business meeting,” Martin was told in a letter obtained by The Washington Examiner and signed by Sen. David Vitter, R-LA and ranking minority member of the Senate Public Works and Environment Committee, and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA.
“Specifically, an email from Vickie Patton, the general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, to this private email said ‘Hi, Jim, Next Monday or Tuesday December 12/13 at 9 am depending on which is best for you.’ In response, you replied from this private email account with ‘January 13 at 9:00 am works for me if that works for you (Lost your original note – is that the date and time you proposed?),” Vitter and Issa said in the letter to Martin.
Federal officials are barred from using private email accounts to conduct official government business except in emergency situations, and then are required to make all such communications available to their employing agencies for official record-keeping purposes and for responding to Freedom of Information Act requests and to congressional oversight inquiries.
Martin was appointed to the EPA post by President Obama in 2009.