In the internet generation, most people have more than one email address, using the different emails to segment their lives. It is very rare for people to who have both a work and personal email to use work email for personal or personal for work. Government Employees are regularly instructed to erect “a serious firewall” between their personal online life and government business.
Senior members of the EPA had been discovered using their personal email to conduct department business, and it is very widespread according to according to a new report from Senate Republicans that accused the agency’s own internal watchdog of botching an investigation.
The report calls into question the work of the Department’s inspector general who issued a report clearing the EPA of wrongdoing in September.
But the GOP, in a new memo, said it has learned of at least 17 current and former EPA employees, including top leadership, who used their private email accounts, seemingly violating the spirit if not the actual wording of sunshine rules.
In fact, the Republicans said one of those officials, EPA Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld, lied to the inspector general when he denied he used his private email for agency business.
Overall, Republicans took issue with three different IG investigations, and also accused the watchdog of breaking protocol in refusing to brief the GOP on an investigation before releasing the findings.
Republicans said those instances hint at “a lack of transparency and potential bias” on the part of the watchdog.
“EPW Republicans believe it is time for Congress to have more scrutiny over what is going on in the IG’s office at EPA,” the GOP said in its memo.
Hints at a lack of transparency? Shouts is more like it.
Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who helped expose the email scandal, said the inspector general’s investigation was flawed because auditors just interviewed the accused wrongdoers, and never gathered other evidence, before clearing employees of wrongdoing.
“Only willful blindness could lead to such absurd conclusions,” Mr. Horner said.
Mr Horner said the private emails matter because the ones he has been able to obtain show that top EPA officials were “far too close for comfort” with special interest groups who are pushing for specific federal policies.
Mr. Horner two years ago exposed former EPA chief Lisa Jackson’s use of an alternate official email under the alias Richard Windsor, which set off a series of questions about EPA email practices.
Scandal and cover-up, the standard operating procedure of the Obama administration.