Another top EPA official caught using private email account

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Emails released by the Environmental Protection Agency show that acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe used a private email account to conduct official business, which violates EPA policy and has raised questions about whether he was trying to shield communications from public disclosure.

The emails show that Perciasepe was using a non-official “perciasepe.org” email account to conduct official business — the second high-ranking to be caught doing so this year.

Last month, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that EPA Region 8 Administrator James Martin had used his private “me.com” email account to correspond with environmental activists. Following this report, Republicans Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana and Rep. Darrell Issa of California opened up an investigation into Martin’s email activity, arguing that the official may be trying to skirt federal transparency laws.

According to a press release, Vitter recently learned that Martin will likely resign this week due “in part because of the open investigation about his use of a non-official email account to conduct official business.”

“The sad fact is I was not all that surprised to find that address,” Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Chris Horner told TheDC News Foundation. “As I chronicled in the book, this crowd has moved government, often activities they prefer not receive scrutiny, over to private email, private computers and even privately owned and managed computer servers.”

EPA email and records rules instruct employees to “not use any outside e-mail account to conduct official Agency business.”

“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,” Vitter said in a statement. “EPA owes us all some answers about their absolute disregard for transparency, especially from their acting administrator or any potential nominee to be administrator.”

The emails were released its second tranche of emails as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute last year to expose former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s use of an alias account under the name “Richard Windsor.” Vitter called the first release “fishy” because the EPA had improperly redacted information.

“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 said.

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