Former Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson co-hosted a fundraiser for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday — an ironic twist since Jackson left the Obama administration amid a major email scandal.
Jackson co-hosted the Clinton fundraiser with Apple CEO Tim Cook in the San Francisco Bay area, and tickets for the event reportedly cost between $2,700 and $50,000. Jackson currently serves as Apple’s environmental director, and is also on the board of the Clinton Foundation.
Jackson took the Apple job after leaving the EPA amid a scandal involving her use of a secret email account.
For years, Jackson used an email account under the alias “Richard Windsor” in what critics called an effort to sidestep transparency laws. Jackson’s emails were on a government server, but the former administrator used her alias account to conduct official business and communicate with environmental activists.
Jackson’s secret email was uncovered by Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the free market Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), who sued EPA for Jackson’s “secondary” email account. EPA dragged its feet on the request, but the courts forced the agency to release thousands of “Richard Windsor” emails.
Those emails revealed Jackson used her alias account to communicate with environmental activists, and she even used it to communicate with White House officials — it wasn’t just for internal agency use like she claimed.
Jackson admitted to using the alias account, but said she was only doing what her predecessors did to avoid getting overloaded with emails flooding her publicly-advertised account. She even said she told record requesters to search for “Richard Windsor” when seeking her communications.
“After 25 years in public service, I have people accusing me on both sides of doing something unethical to hide information,” she told Princeton University students in 2013. “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.’”
Despite her claim, emails show some high-ranking government officials were unaware of her alias account. Liberal activists had even uncovered Richard Windsor emails in a 2012 records request, but had no idea who it actually was.
Clinton is no stranger to email scandals, and was even the subject of a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into her handling of classified emails while secretary of state. Clinton used an email account linked to a private, unsecured server run out of her home in Chappaqua, New York.
FBI Director James Comey called Clinton’s handling of emails “extremely careless,” but did not recommend prosecuting her for violating federal laws.
Comey’s investigation also revealed 15,000 new email documents Clinton’s lawyers had not previously disclosed. The State Department will likely them to the public in October, though there’s worry they could be released after the election.
Jackson’s email controversy also continues despite her leaving the EPA in 2013. The EPA admitted to CEI there were 120,000 email records from her Richard Windsor account, and promised to release the documents over the years.
CEI, however, has contested the EPA’s release schedule as being too slow. The agency promised to process about 100 a month, meaning CEI will get all its documents in 100 years.
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