Vitter promises to go after Lisa Jackson on transparency dodges

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter promised to go after former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson for using private and alias email accounts to conduct business and correspond with environmental activists.

“We’re going to go after [Jackson’s email records] because the public has a right to know,” Vitter said on Fox News. “We’ve been working on this for months, and again, it’s a big deal because it’s clearly a pattern used to hide important, sensitive information from the public and from Congress.”

“And generally what’s being hidden is a very cozy relationship between this EPA and far-left environmental groups,” Vitter added.

Vitter was responding to a court ruling last week which said that the EPA may have been using nonpublic email accounts to skirt public scrutiny and transparency laws. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by conservative radio host Mark Levin’s Landmark Legal Foundation over records regarding regulations being delayed until after the 2012 election.

The court ruled that Levin’s groups could “question and obtain records from EPA officials as part of the firm’s Freedom of Information lawsuit against the federal agency,” reports the Associated Press.

“The possibility that unsearched personal email accounts may have been used for official business raises the possibility that leaders in the EPA may have purposefully attempted to skirt disclosure under the FOIA,” wrote U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in his decision.

Jackson has been under congressional scrutiny for months, since The Daily Caller News Foundation revealed that she was using an alias email account under the name “Richard Windsor.” Further reporting revealed that Jackson had also used alias account as well as her private email account to correspond with environmental groups.

“After 25 years in public service, I have people accusing me on both sides of doing something unethical to hide information,” Jackson told students at Princeton University. “And I have endless times when I’ve said to people, ‘Make sure when you’re searching for FOIA information you search the Richard Windsor account.’”

Other top EPA officials also used private email accounts to conduct officials business.

Former EPA Region 8 administrator James Martin resigned after it was reported that he used his private email account to correspond with environmentalists regarding agency business. Former EPA acting administrator Bob Perciasepe also used a private email account for official business.

Vitter told Fox News that Republicans would consider using subpoenas to get information from Jackson. In the Senate, however, this will be difficult as all the committee chairs who hold the subpoena power are Democrats.

Vitter said that he has been working with House Republicans on getting more email  records from Jackson.

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