President Barack Obama and, for that matter, most of America seem woefully ignorant about a scandal unfolding at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As hard as it is to believe, outgoing Administrator Lisa Jackson actually appears to have had agency personnel create a fictitious employee by the name of “Richard Windsor” so that Jackson could appropriate the Windsor’s email address for her own purposes.
We’re not talking about some alias to be used for personal correspondence but a totally false identity in whose name official business was allegedly conducted created specifically to avoid federal record-keeping and disclosure requirements. And none of this would ever have been uncovered were it not for the courage of a still anonymous whistleblower and the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Christopher Horner, an attorney with the legal smarts and experience needed to unravel it all.
Earlier this week, thanks to Horner’s good work, the EPA was supposed to produce the first installment of some 12,000 secret, previously undisclosed emails. Not because it wanted to but because a federal court order required it to.
Under the order, the EPA was to provide the first installment of 3,000 e-mails with three additional installments of 3,000 e-mails to follow. Rather than provide the required emails, however, EPA’s cover letter accompanying its production of emails said it “produced more than 2,100 emails received or sent” by Jackson on an official alias e-mail account.
All fine, well and good – except that not one of those emails was from “Richard Windsor’s” account. Not one. Yet it is certain the account exists because Horner found three Windsor emails using other means. Instead the EPA provided such absurdly silly and unresponsive e-mails as the daily news briefs published by the Washington Post, and EPA national news clippings, a pathetic attempt to avoid a contempt citation that came only after a week’s worth of unsuccessful attempts to push the official response date down the road.
A pattern exists: the EPA creates a fake e-mail account for its administrator to avoid scrutiny; it doesn’t produce any of the fake e-mails even though they are required by law to do so; when specifically required by court order, the EPA seeks endless delays; and, when the delaying tactics prove fruitless, EPA fails to provide either the number or the type of e-mails required.