Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is calling out the nation's chief environmental regulator for using private email accounts to discuss public business.

CREW today asked the Environmental Protection Agency's Inspector General to investigate the practice, which has been reported on by national news media.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's "practice of using fictitious email accounts to conduct official EPA business, shielding the contents from public view, conflicts directly with her responsibility to follow federal records law,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement. “The fact that others may have engaged in such conduct before her tenure is no justification. ‘Everybody does it,’ is an excuse for kindergarteners, not cabinet officials.”

CREW says the creation of the private email accounts would be illegal under federal law.

“Complying with the Federal Records Act is not optional,” Sloan said. “The EPA’s illegal and devious practices undermine the ability of Congress, outside watchdog groups, and citizens alike to request and receive full information from the agency. The IG should investigate immediately to ensure messages are being properly saved and learn what, exactly, it is that Administrator Jackson and other EPA employees are trying to hide from the American public.”

Majority leaders of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology are also questioning the private accounts

The free-enterprise think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute has sued to get access to an EPA regional administrator's emails with the Environmental Defense Fund. The administrator had worked for the EDF before taking a job with the EPA. 


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