EPA Employee Downloaded ‘Boycott Trump’ App on Government Phone

Bureaucrats use Candy Crush, dating apps on taxpayer-funded phones

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• April 5, 2018 5:00 am


At least one employee at the Environmental Protection Agency downloaded the app "Boycott Trump" on a government phone.

Employees are also using dating apps, playing Candy Crush, and watching Netflix on their taxpayer-funded phones, according to a new report by Cause of Action Institute, a nonprofit oversight group.

Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request inquiring about employees use of Signal, an encrypted text messaging app, revealed EPA employees are using their government-issued phones for far more than government business.

One anti-Trump employee downloaded the Boycott Trump app, which was created by the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, the "home of The Resistance to Donald Trump and his agenda."

The app alerts users to businesses that are connected to the Trump organization, so they can avoid their services.

"Make Trump and his allies pay, literally, for their hateful rhetoric and regressive policies. Use consumer action to take a stand for what's right!" a description of the app states.

Opposition to Trump has been common at the EPA, with union members holding "resistance" signs at an anti-Trump rally last year. Last summer, EPA bureaucrats were still crying at their desks over Trump's victory.

Cause of Action began investigating the use of Signal at the agency after Politico reported EPA employees were using the encrypted app to plot resistance against the Trump administration. Cause of Action said employees using the app could be skirting federal records law by concealing internal communications at the agency.

"Records recently released to CoA Institute under the Freedom of Information Act now confirm that a number of EPA employees installed Signal, WhatsApp, and at least sixteen other messaging applications on their agency-furnished devices," Cause of Action said. "These records also reveal that EPA employees installed a panoply of other applications—including email, sports betting, dating, and entertainment applications—that raise questions about the use of government-issued and taxpayer-funded mobile devices for personal purposes."

Aside from Boycott Trump, hundreds of employees downloaded social media apps to their government phones. The list includes Facebook (466 phones), Twitter (310 phones), Instagram (162 phones), and Reddit (20 phones).

One employee downloaded the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, while another preferred OK Cupid.

Other employees used their phones for personal banking and finance, and many had gaming apps installed.

Fourteen employees had Angry Birds, while 32 had Candy Crush installed. Others played Blackjack or used the sports betting app Draft Kings. Fifteen employees used HBO, while 73 had Netflix downloaded.

Seven employees had Pokémon GO installed on their government phones.

"Based on the EPA's list of approved ‘Terms of Service' agreements, it appears that most of these applications were never authorized for work-related business," Cause of Action said. "To the extent they were used for personal purposes, the EPA should take its workforce to task for abusing the privilege of a government-furnished and taxpayer-funded phone."

"Simply stated, the EPA does not exist so its bureaucrats can spend the day watching Netflix, browsing eBay, or swiping right on a dating application," the group said.

Published under: EPA