UPDATE: I got a direct email from the EPA with a statement. See below.
From Investors Business Daily:
Clandestine Government: During his first full day in the White House, Barack Obama promised he’d brought with him “a new era of open government.” Yet again, we have a promise that hasn’t been kept.
Among the administration’s many violations of public trust to recently become public is the Environmental Protection Agency’s apparent attempt to keep some of its correspondence hidden from the light of day through the use of aliases.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, for instance, has reportedly used the name “Richard Windsor” to cover her tracks in private emails.
Federal law prohibits the government from using private emails for official communications unless they are appropriately stored and can be tracked. Because things look suspicious at the EPA, the House Science Committee is investigating the possibility that the agency has conducted business it doesn’t want the public to see.
On Friday, the committee delivered letters to the EPA and “various agency inspectors general” seeking to find out if “senior personnel have been conducting official business through secretive means such as aliases and private email accounts.”
The letters, sent by committee Republican members, express concern that “senior Obama Administration appointees” might be violating the Federal Records Act, Freedom of Information Act, the Presidential Records Act, and “other statutes designed to facilitate transparency and oversight.”
UPDATE: This email was sent directly to me this morning, comments follow.
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 9:16 AM
Subject: EPA Statement
Want to make sure you have EPA’s statement on your story this a.m. This is attributable to EPA, the Agency.
For more than a decade, EPA Administrators have been assigned two official, government-issued email accounts: a public account and an internal account. The email address for the public account is posted on EPA’s website and is used by hundreds of thousands of Americans to send messages to the Administrator. The internal account is an everyday, working email account of the Administrator to communicate with staff and other government officials.
Given the large volume of emails sent to the public account –more than 1.5 million in fiscal year 2012, for instance – the internal email account is necessary for effective management and communication between the Administrator and agency colleagues.
In the case of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, both the public and internal accounts are reviewed for responsive records, and responsive records from both accounts are provided to FOIA requesters.
That may be so, but it doesn’t explain these things.
1. Why is the account named “Richard Windsor” instead of something like firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Why there’s no “Richard Windsor” listed at EPA
3. The reticence at making emails public, as required by law.
The EPA has failed to convince.
See this new post where Horner responds here: