Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sockpuppeteer Lisa Jackson Must Go

Last May, the Washington Post reported on a flurry of emails between EPA officials who found themselves at odds with a White House policy:
An Aug. 30, 2011, e-mail exchange among Environmental Protection Agency officials, obtained by the Center for Progressive Reform under the Freedom of Information Act, provides a glimpse into how agency officials thought the White House failed to adequately capture their work on anti-pollution rules opposed by Republicans and industry officials.
That email exchange, which I've put on Scribd, is of interest because it includes emails from one "Richard Windsor". Multiple FOIA requests for Richard Windsor's emails have gone unanswered leading to lawsuits from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). Chris Horner of CEI took to the pages of National Review with the simple question: Who is Richard Windsor?
“Richard Windsor.” That is the name — sorry, one of the alias names — used by Obama’s radical EPA chief to keep her email from those who ask for it.
If Horner is correct, and I believe he is, then EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, has been using a sockpuppet email address at EPA. Sockpuppetry within a government agency subverts transparency since government records and documents that Jackson creates as "Richard Windsor" are not obviously connected to her. As such, FOIA requests for her work products are unlikely to catch such records.

EPA Email from Richard Windsor
Email internal to EPA sent by "Richard Windsor"
That has drawn the attention of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology which issued a letter to Jackson this past Friday. That letter reads in part:
Unfortunately, time and again, actions by the Administration on transparency have fallen far short of the President's rhetoric, in many instances trending away from transparency and toward greater secrecy. I write you today regarding yet another troubling revelation - the use of private email and alias accounts to conduct official government business. I am concerned that this behavior appears to violate the Federal Records Act (FRA), and perhaps the Presidential Records Act (PRA), the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as well as many other statutes designed to facilitate transparency and oversight.
Here's the screenplay of that EPA email exchange that the Washington Post reported on as it unfolded. Lisa Jackson is reading the lines of "Richard Windsor" in our little re-enactment--I've italicized her lines so they're easy to spot:
Betsaida Alcantara: This just went out, it focuses heavily on the executive order to reduce burdens of regulation.
Lisa Jackson: Did anyone get any heads up on this letter?
Bob Perciasepe: We did not get contacted
Daniel Kanninen: I have spoken with Chris Lu, who also was unaware of the letter and it's release prior to it going out the door.
He is following up with OIRA now. I made several points to him for that purpose. First, that we've spent a great deal of time and energy framing these rules with the public health and environmental benefits, and when and how they are driven by statutory, scientific and legal obligations, which this letter and appendix do not. And second, that in the interest of both accuracy and situational awareness tighter coordination would be been appreciated and in this case would have avoided a fairly significant error.
Chris found those to be compelling points and I'm sure will relay them to OIRA (Cass and/or Fitzpatrick was the inference), but I would certainly endorse relaying that message to others.
Lisa Jackson: Sorry. I haven't reviewed the POTUS letter carefully. What is the significant error?
Gina McCarthy: Quick look: The numbers in the appendix re: Ozone and MATS, are accurate, but approximate. Re: the Major Source Boilers, looks like they pulled the $3 billion from the April 2010 proposal, which is accurate, but we finalized (and immediately reconsidered) a significantly less costly boiler rule in February 2011 ($1.4 billion).
It's pretty clear from that exchange who's in charge: the Richard Windsor stand-in, Lisa Jackson.

Two final points about "Richard Windsor". First, email sent to does not bounce as of Saturday (11/17/2012) evening. That means that the Richard Windsor email account is active and that suggests that Windsor is an employee of the EPA. That brings us to the second point.

The EPA does not have any employees with the last name "Windsor". None. You can go check for yourself on the agency's "Locate an EPA Employee" page. A search for Lisa Jackson returns a page like the one below; however, I get "no records found" when searching for "Windsor"

For subverting government transparency within the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson must either resign or be fired. She has to go.

1 comment:

freespeak said...

I wonder how soon this government will implode...6 months?