BREAKING: 'Richard Windsor' EPA scandal spreads, EPA Administrator James Martin resigns over hidden email accounts

From a press release:

Vitter: New Richard Windsor Emails Show EPA’s Transparency Problem More Widespread

New emails show acting Administrator Perciasepe used non-official email to conduct official business. EPA Region 8 Administrator, who is resigning this week, is being investigated for the same problem.

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), today released findings from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) second tranche of Richard Windsor emails. 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.

You can find an example of Perciasepe’s non-official email on page 470 at the following link to the EPA’s second release of Richard Windsor emails: http://www.epa.gov/epafoia1/docs/Second-Release-Part-O.pdf .

“There’s a lot of information in these emails that warrant further investigations, but it is clear that EPA continues to abuse exemptions under FOIA law with significant redactions of information to avoid transparency,” Vitter added.

EPA instructs its employees to “not use any outside e-mail account to conduct official Agency business.” However, the documents obtained suggest that Administrator Martin regularly used a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business, and acting Administrator Perciasepe may be doing the same.

-30-

2/19/13 2:07 PM EST via Politico email alert

EPA Region 8 Administrator James Martin has resigned from his post, effective Friday, Feb. 22, EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson confirmed to POLITICO. But she denied the allegation from EPW Ranking Member Sen. David Vitter that the decision came in response to his discovery that Martin had used a personal account for his government duties. Johnson said Martin’s decision to leave is for “personal reasons.” Regarding Vitter’s email claims, the agency says that “the Regional Administrator does not use his personal email account to conduct official business. That Mr. Martin responded to one email sent to his personal email account to confirm a meeting that appears on his official government calendar does not alter that fact.” EPA says the email was produced for Vitter when, “In an abundance of caution and to be fully transparent, the Regional Administrator searched his personal email account and produced any email that contained the term the ‘Environmental Defense Fund,’ which are the emails cited by Senator Vitter and Chairman Issa in their inquiry,” the agency’s statement says. “In producing these documents, the EPA and the Regional Administrator have gone beyond any legal requirements in our efforts to ensure full transparency.”

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Pull My Finger

Oh come on! You ALL know Obama has the most transparent administration in the whole entire history of the world. His gives you access to EXACTLY everything he wants you to know. You are all a bunch of flat-earth, racist, mouth breathing, trogolodytes that beat your wives and kick your dogs!

Would bar complaints be appropriate for the outside recipients of these emails?

Are these the EPA emails that were denied to Chris Horn and CEI?
I guess the EPA didn’t think the FOIA was for that “Richard Windsor”.
Monster document! While most of it seems to be mostly news that Richard Windsor liked to hear, I do wonder what might be in it.
So I started a search; Tallbloke was the first word I started searching for. The thing is still busy so I won’t know if I can find any skeptics listed until later, maybe never if my search locks my machine…
(WUWT will be my second choice for a search. I chose Tallbloke because of the odd ‘sudden’ interest in finding UEA’s whistleblowing leak. Somehow, I’ve wondered if Richard Windsor was interested.)
Searching for known ‘eco alarmist’ names might be neat too.

Joe Public

“Regarding Vitter’s email claims, the agency says that “the Regional Administrator does not use his personal email account to conduct official business.” ”
And does the Regional Administrator know how many accounts James Martin has?

The EPA are doing a lot of denying these days. Can we call them deniers now?
/sarc

Theo Goodwin

‘Regarding Vitter’s email claims, the agency says that “the Regional Administrator does not use his personal email account to conduct official business. That Mr. Martin responded to one email sent to his personal email account to confirm a meeting that appears on his official government calendar does not alter that fact.’
Actually it does alter that fact. It is smoking gun evidence that Martin used his personal account to conduct official business. That is a smoking gun. Nothing else is needed to establish Vitter’s claim.
The fact that this email exists on Martin’s personal account means that all the contents of that account must be requested by Vitter or Isaa.
How did Martin’s correspondent get his personal email address? Given that Martin received the email, why did he not respond by directing the emailer to his official account? Did Martin ask the emailer how he got Martin’s personal account?

Would love to see the personal emails leading up to the EPA’s CO2/pollutant decision.
“Yo, Lisa! These jamokes actually believe their input matters!
~ James”

RockyRoad

I’d say Bob Perciasepe’s actions weren’t very perspicacious and now his situation is perspicuously precarious. Poor Bob, I’d say.

the documents obtained suggest that Administrator Martin regularly used a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business, and acting Administrator Perciasepe may be doing the same
‘suggest’, ‘may’ ?
Well did they or did they not?

Dave

Pull My Finger, I do NOT kick my dog!!

MarkW

Funny thing, it was liberals who demanded all of this open govt type legislation in the first place.
(NOTE: I agree with the open govt legislation, I’m just amused that it is suddenly the liberals who feel that they can’t conduct the govt’s business in the open.)

MarkW

Theo Goodwin says:
February 19, 2013 at 11:41 am

If he replied from his personal account, but did a CC to his official account, would that be sufficient?
Or perhaps he could forward the question to his official account, and then answer it from there.

I. Lou Minoti

Three down, and how many more to go? First was Region 6 administrator Armendariz, infamous for his declaration that “EPA’s general philosophy is to crucify and make examples of oil and gas companies . . .”
http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/46268
Second is Lisa Jackson herself, of whom her fellow environmentalist coworkers at the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility wrote the following less than glowing critique:
http://www.www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2008/12/08/why-lisa-jackson-should-not-run-epa
Let’s just save what’s remaining of America by shutting down the EPA once and for all, if only because it was created by an unconstitutional executive order by Richard “I’m not a crook” Nixon in 1970 . . .
http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/14564-epa-ex-boss-jackson-caught-breaking-law-scamming-us-taxpayers
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/dethrone-epa-robert-zubrin
. . . and as if that weren’t enough, here’s two more reasons:
1) The EPA (and the entire green movement) has become the haunt of Marxists with nowhere else to go . . .
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdLReIes8Q8
2) As depicted by the following group of loonies . . .
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHrb6TLmrDM

William Astley

Resignations in response to the finding that secret email accounts are being used and were used at the EPA to hide correspondence from FOI requests is a first step.
The Congress was a constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of government agencies and to investigate and resolve issues. The fact that there was and is clandestine activity at the EPA, indicates that the EPA has something to hide. What specifically is being hidden there?
The next step is a full investigation, and complete cooperation from the EPA and Obama administration. If the Obama administration and the EPA do not fully cooperate a special prosecutor might be required.
The EPA is not the CIA.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Theo Goodwin says:
February 19, 2013 at 11:41 am

‘Regarding Vitter’s email claims, the agency says that “the Regional Administrator does not use his personal email account to conduct official business. That Mr. Martin responded to one email sent to his personal email account to confirm a meeting that appears on his official government calendar does not alter that fact.’
Actually it does alter that fact. It is smoking gun evidence that Martin used his personal account to conduct official business. That is a smoking gun. Nothing else is needed to establish Vitter’s claim.
The fact that this email exists on Martin’s personal account means that all the contents of that account must be requested by Vitter or Isaa.
How did Martin’s correspondent get his personal email address? Given that Martin received the email, why did he not respond by directing the emailer to his official account? Did Martin ask the emailer how he got Martin’s personal account?

I am not going to hold up the EPA as a paragon of FOI virtue here, but it is important to establish what actually happened in context before leveling charges of obstruction. I have access to my personal home email account while I am at work, using the same mail reader and therefore sharing the same address book. If I’m not careful I can send mail to personal contacts which appears to come from my work email, and email to work contacts which appears to come from my home email. Given the way people tend to abuse the “reply all” button, once a personal email address appears in a work email thread, it tends to have a long half-life.
An occasional cross-contamination of work/personal emails does not constitute a pattern of evasion or obstruction. However to maintain claims of FOI compliance, the EPA would have to insist that where mixing of personal and work emails does occur, anyone subject to an FOI request must search personal email as well.

I use a unified Email client that aggregates my work and personal emails. When I compose an email, the program allows me to select which account I will send the email from. By default, when I am replying, the program sets the sending account to the account that received the email I am replying to.
I have, on occasion, composed an email from scratch, and sent it from the wrong account, for example sending a report to my boss from my personal account. That wouldn’t be malice, but absent mindedness.
If this is happening routinely, then it being accidental becomes far less likely.

Reblogged this on SOYLENT GREEN and commented:
A little late to the party with this because #work, but Mwuhahahahahahahaha, couldn’t happen to a more retched cabal.

pottereaton

It’s sad, but given how in lock-step these people are, Martin and Jackson will– even though they have flagrantly violated the law–go on to jobs related within government and/or the environmental movement and be rewarded handsomely. Just like the guy who talked about crucifying oil companies just to set an example.
It’s what Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell address: “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

trumblon

Anthony: just for laughs, I’d really like to know the source of this ridiculous “press release”. I mean, even Heartland would be hard-pressed to come up with such a ridiculous accumulation of fact-free accusations.
I also encourage everyone to look at the single document that is actually cited in this release, that is, “page 470” the 1203-page long PDF. You will be able to see the “official business” that was surreptitiously conducted in this email. Oh wait, you won’t, because there wasn’t any! Seriously, look it up!
Next time you want to make yourself a conduit for self-aggrandizing politicians on a witch hunt, you might want to find someone classier than Paul “I demand abstinence-only sex ed but I’ll still see a madam on the side” Vitter.
LSvalgaard: look up “plausible deniability”. Actual accusations are potentially actionable, while mere insinuations aren’t.

jeff 5778

government of the people, for the people, and by the people…
You betcha!

pottereaton

EPA says the email was produced for Vitter when, “In an abundance of caution and to be fully transparent, the Regional Administrator searched his personal email account and produced any email that contained the term the ‘Environmental Defense Fund,’ which are the emails cited by Senator Vitter and Chairman Issa in their inquiry,” the agency’s statement says. “In producing these documents, the EPA and the Regional Administrator have gone beyond any legal requirements in our efforts to ensure full transparency.”

As McIntyre says, you have to watch the pea here. Did they search for any email that contained the term “EDF?”

Tom in Florida

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:
February 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm
I have to disagree with you there Alan. It is one thing for a private company employee to make an error in getting private and company email accounts crossed, it is quite another for heads of government agencies to do so. They know better and should know the need for staying above reproach. It seems to be a clear pattern of many higher ranking government employees not to care about laws and restraints on their power so one can only assume it is intentional. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”. Perhaps it’s time for the blood letting to begin.

Rattus Norvegicus

You’re going to have to do better if the example on page 470 is representative of the emails sent from his personal account. It is just a forward of a news article, I fail to see how that could be construed as official business.

EW3

Rule of law is for the little people.

Rattus Norvegicus,
Read the comment below yours.

Mark and two Cats

I. Lou Minoti said:
February 19, 2013 at 12:14 pm
Three down, and how many more to go?
——————————-
An army. They will be replaced from obama’s phalanx of apparatchiks.
These three are the tip of an iceberg immune to the “global warming” of public scrutiny.

This requires a whole (Watergate type of) congressional investigation. This EPA must be exposed as to its shenanigans. Don’t hold your breath though.

talldave2

I don’t think the EPA has a transparency problem, their corruption and bias is crystal clear.

talldave2

EW3,
Laws are for people who aren’t SAVING THE WORLD.

Mark Bofill

Rattus Norvegicus says:
February 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm
You’re going to have to do better if the example on page 470 is representative of the emails sent from his personal account. It is just a forward of a news article, I fail to see how that could be construed as official business.
———————————-
Yup. Martin’s resignation is pure coincidence. Nothing to see at the EPA folks, no scandal here; move along. /sarc

talldave2

pottereaton,
They’ll get the full Mann/Jones investigative treatment:
“Did you break the law?”
“No.”
“Well, that settles that! Sorry to have bothered you.”

Craig Loehle

What disturbs me is how often agencies feel that they can ignore Congress when a letter is sent requesting info. Congress sets budgets and does oversight. Lisa Jackson was famous for that, and often refused to testify in front of Congress. I am not denying that Congress can be grandstanding in any particular instance, of course, but still they have a right to ask for information.

JEM

I’m confident that, given the breed of conspiratory eco-bureaucrat well in evidence at the EPA, there’s a smoking gun somewhere, but what’s in evidence here seems to be more the little flag that says ‘BANG!’ sticking out of the end of a cartoon popgun.
And that’s unfortunate, because I really do wish to see the EPA as currently constituted chopped apart and thrown to the wolves.

Bob

We should hire the Chinese to hack and release all the EPA’s emails for the past 4 years.

trumblon says:
February 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm
LSvalgaard: look up “plausible deniability”. Actual accusations are potentially actionable, while mere insinuations aren’t.
Well, did they or didn’t they?
Is this post about a ‘mere insinuation’?

eo

What is possibility of Obama appointing Michael Mann and all his team mates to fill all those potential vacancies at EPA?

Mike

This is Gleickism behavior, saving the world, one deceit at a time.

I. Lou Minotti

eo asks (2:02 pm):
“What is the possibility of Obama appointing Michael Mann . . . ?” Most observers would answer “slim to none,” seeing how Obama prefers golfing with Duke ex-basketball players. While he might like hockey sticks for reasons otherwise known as bullhockey, the game itself doesn’t appear to be his forte.
http://www.sandrarose.com/2013/02/obama-vacationed-alone-with-reggie-love-bans-media-from-taking-pictures

jorgekafkazar

From the phalanx of goose-stepping, leftist spittle-spewers appearing here after weeks of silence, this issue has them seriously agitated. Some even draw their weapon-of-choice, the ad hominem argument.
For a totally different slant on “the most transparent administration ever:”
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m95297&hd=&size=1&l=e

Streetcred

February 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm | William Astley says: “The EPA is not the CIA.”
By all accounts, the EPA thinks that it is the CIA 😉

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Tom in Florida says:
February 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says: “…”
February 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm
I have to disagree with you there Alan. It is one thing for a private company employee to make an error in getting private and company email accounts crossed, it is quite another for heads of government agencies to do so. They know better and should know the need for staying above reproach. It seems to be a clear pattern of many higher ranking government employees not to care about laws and restraints on their power so one can only assume it is intentional.

From the text posted here I do not see that this pattern extends to James Martin in particular. The actual story text says:

However, the documents obtained suggest that Administrator Martin regularly used a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business, and acting Administrator Perciasepe may be doing the same.

“suggest” and “may” are rather weak words when you are trying to establish a pattern of illegal or improper behavior. How many times have we heard that temperature data “suggest” that warming “may” be occurring at a greater than predicted rate?
I’m not supposed to use personal email for company purposes or vice-versa either, but it happens. The principle of charity demands we not assume evil intent for actions which could equally well be explained as simple screw-ups. You would actually have to examine the documents referenced above in detail to have a basis for such a conclusion. I haven’t and the author of the story (who presumably has) used rather weak words to lead the reader to a conclusion without actually stating and supporting it.
I just quickly read through some of the example emails in the referenced PDF file — as far as I can tell they are mostly from “Betsaida Alcantara/DC/USEPA/US” who seems to be providing a clipping service for other people in the EPA (with Lisa Jackson addressed as “Richard Windsor”). In the sample portions I read through there was no official business and not even any discusssion: just clippings of articles and press releases on environmental issues. While “Jim Martin” was a common addressee, I don’t see how that constitutes him conducting official business from a personal Email account (and all the samples I saw used his official EPA email, although I’ve seen both “Jim Martin” and “James Martin” as recipients).
One of the places Martin’s name comes up is in a copy of a press release by Sen. James Inhofe (R. Oklahoma), which states:

“As recently as November 9, 2011 EPA Regional Administrator James Martin said that the
results of the latest round of testing in Pavillion were not significantly different from the first
two rounds of testing, which showed no link between hydraulic fracturing and contamination.
Yet only a few weeks later, EPA has decided the opposite. EPA is clearly not prepared to be
making conclusions.

In other words, Inhofe is quoting James Martin to refute other claims made by the EPA.
I believe you reserve your big ammunition for targets which really deserve it. If you accuse people of criminal intent based on nothing more than behavior which has plenty of other explanations, eventually reasonable people will stop listening to you.

Downdraft

The claim of transparency by Obama and his minions is risible, and they are repeating the claim more and more often. Maybe they’re planning to perform at a comedy club and are just warming up their acts?
These resignations will give Obama the opportunity to reward some more sycophants, bundlers and hangers-on, and/or fill the posts with the most cooperative eco-freaks he can find. I expect at least one will be chosen from EDF or WWF.

DesertYote

Pull My Finger
February 19, 2013 at 11:27 am
###
My dog would be upset if I did not kick or punch him when I get home in the evening. He’s a lovable 90lb Pitbull and that how he likes to be petted. BTW, Does owning a 90lb make me a trog?

AlexS

Don’t expect this to appear in Media…

“There’s a lot of information in these emails that warrant further investigations, but it is clear that EPA continues to abuse exemptions under FOIA law with significant redactions of information to avoid transparency,” Vitter added.

The arbitrary ability of the EPA to redact parts of FOIA requested emails that might harm its reputation does not seem consistent with openness and transparency. They will hide to the very end.
The pattern of EPA behavior is resistance to being open and transparent as a government body.
Continuous pressure from Congress over a long time period might wear down the EPA’s culture of secrecy. Go for it congress!
John

Kevin Kilty

I. Lou Minoti says:
February 19, 2013 at 12:14 pm

There is one too many www in the url for the group http://www.peer.org; however, the report is interesting. It shows that Lisa Jackson’s MO is to politicize, suppress science, and then collude with certain, likely pliable, members of industry. It points to a problem that seems to infect the entire current administration–rhetoric at odds with collusion.

I. Lou Minotti

trumblon wrote (12:26 pm):
“. . . just for laughs . . ,” and then goes on to denigrate someone guilty of a moral failure that all left-wing progressive, “world-savers” would never lower themselves to do, or deny if they did. Have we now witnessed your latest example of the ad hominem approach to “reasoned” debate? I ask “just for laughs.”

Here is what I don’t understand…Why is the EPA allowed to redact anything? They are not dealing with national security and top secret clearance…

Theo Goodwin

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:
February 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm
“I am not going to hold up the EPA as a paragon of FOI virtue here, but it is important to establish what actually happened in context before leveling charges of obstruction. I have access to my personal home email account while I am at work, using the same mail reader and therefore sharing the same address book. If I’m not careful I can send mail to personal contacts which appears to come from my work email, and email to work contacts which appears to come from my home email. Given the way people tend to abuse the “reply all” button, once a personal email address appears in a work email thread, it tends to have a long half-life.”
You stand to benefit from this discussion. Change the way that you manage your email accounts. If your email account at work becomes involved in a business dispute or a legal matter neither your employer nor the attorneys will show you mercy. In any case, someone at your job is reading some of your private emails.

Theo Goodwin

MarkW says:
February 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm
He has to explain how someone whose email should have been to his official account arrived at his personal account. In other words, how did the sender get the address of his personal account.
In general, commenters here seem to believe that our legal system will accept a common sense account of their email use regardless of how peculiar it might seem. You have no idea how wrong you are. Treat each and every email created at work or sent to work, whether by you or others, as if it were a formal letter written on company letterhead. Also, be aware that your emails are audited. Finally, be aware that your peers or employers who are friendly with IT folk probably know the contents of your emails.