ShareThis Page

EPA transparency: And lack thereof

| Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Lisa Jackson's “lawyering up” is a sign that the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee isn't letting up as it investigates her use of secret and private email addresses for official EPA business. And all Americans who value government transparency and accountability should be glad that it isn't.

The former EPA administrator secured counsel in the wake of a federal judge saying the agency “may have intentionally skirted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)” regarding email usage, The Washington Free Beacon reports. The hiring also came “shortly after” her use of her home email account for EPA business came to light — a revelation that expands the scope of her apparent disregard for transparency.

When Ms. Jackson resigned as EPA chief in December, the committee already was investigating her use of EPA email. The probe was prompted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Chris Horner discovering that she had used a secret EPA email address under the alias “Richard Windsor.” Further FOIA disclosures showed others at the EPA had engaged in similar email abuses — a practice that the EPA defended as common because incoming emails flood high-level officials' public inboxes.

When officials' email convenience trumps transparency, they're more likely to negate accountability by hiding the public's business from the public. That's why the House Oversight investigation of Jackson continues — as it should.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.