EPA chief used alias to email with environmentalists

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter has released more emails from former Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson’s alias email account — Richard Windsor — revealing that Jackson was using the account to correspond with environmentalists.

“EPA has shown an absolute disregard for transparency with their email practices, but this one is pretty bizarre,” said Vitter.  “We also know now that Lisa Jackson used the alias ‘Richard Windsor’ to correspond outside of the EPA, including with environmental activists.”

One June 19, 2009 from the Windsor account shows Jackson corresponded with Michelle Depass of the left-leaning Ford Foundation. Depass told Jackson that soon-to-be “EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator Shalini Vajjhala was going to work at the White House Council on Environmental Quality while also on payroll at the environmental group Resources for the Future,” according to Vitter.

The emails also seem to indicate that the environmentalists on the email threads believed that Richard Windsor and Lisa Jackson were two different people, when in fact the Windsor account belonged to Jackson.

The emails also show that Michael Martin, CEO of the environmental PR company Effect Partners, thought he was corresponding with Lisa Jackson’s assistant when emailing the Windsor account after he could not reach Jackson using her personal email address.

A March 4, 2010 email from Martin to the Windsor account reads, “Hi Richard, Thanks for your help in getting this information to Lisa this last week….If you are still there, could you please call me at [redacted],”

Jackson replied through the alias account, “Michael, Robert Goulding will call you tomorrow.” To which Martin responded, “Thanks Richard!”

Vitter alleges that Jackson’s use of the Windsor account is unprecedented — none of the aliases used by previous EPA heads could be mistaken for another person.

“So, an email account created in the name of a fictitious employee was indeed affirmatively used to present that false identity,” Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Chris Horner told The Daily Caller News Foundation, the man behind the lawsuit that forced the EPA to turn over the Richard Windsor emails.

“This shreds, again, the flimsy claim of Windsor apologists that this wasn’t an effort to hide anything, or make anyone think these emails were anyone else’s,” Horner added. “This was nothing but a fun way to do what everyone else has done. Except for that part about everyone else using their own identity.”

The EPA has continually suggested that the Richard Windsor account was assigned to Jackson for internal communications. The agency told the House Committee on Science that EPA administrators have been assigned two official emails for more than a decade — a public account and an internal account.

“The internal account is an everyday, working email account of the administrator to communicate with staff and other government officials,” the agency said, adding that the large number of emails sent to the public account makes “the internal email account is necessary for effective management and communication between the administrator and agency colleagues.”

However, the emails released by Vitter also show that Jackson used the account to correspond with former White House regulatory czar Cass Sunstein, who called the Richard Windsor account Jackson’s “special email.”

A December 12, 2009 email from Sunstein to the Windsor account said, “Hi Lisa — chance for lunch one of these days? At the White House? Maybe next Thurs or Fri? and let me know if/how I can be helpful with anything these days? – Cass (PS I have your special email from my friend Lisa H. – hope that’s ok!)”

The EPA did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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