No More Secrets

House Science Committee calls for probe of secret EPA email addresses

Lisa Jackson / AP
• November 16, 2012 3:53 pm


Republican members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology called for an investigation into the alleged use of secret email addresses by top Obama administration officials, including Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson, in letters released Friday.

Members of the House Science Committee demanded information on the secret email addresses from Jackson and expressed concerns that conducting official business through such means may violate the Federal Records Act, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Presidential Records Act, and other transparency laws.

"The use of alias and private accounts that are hidden from staff responsible for retaining and providing access to records calls into question the fidelity of previous responses to not only the public through FOIA, but also to the Office of the Inspector General as well as Congress," Republican committee members said in a statement.

Chris Horner, an attorney and senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), first alleged the use of secret email addresses by Jackson and other administration officials.

Horner said top administration officials set up numerous secret email addresses to conduct official businesses in an effort to shield their communications from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

As previously reported by the Free Beacon, Horner and CEI have filed a FOIA lawsuit against the agency seeking disclosure of the email addresses and their content.

The suit cites an internal EPA memo first revealed in a 2008 Government Accountability Office report which describes secondary email accounts known only to a "few EPA staff members, usually only high-level senior staff."

The Daily Caller later reported Horner had discovered that "Richard Windsor" was one of the aliases Jackson was using.

The committee letters were sent to Jackson, the White House Counsel, the director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the inspectors general of the EPA, Energy Department, and Commerce Department.

The EPA did not respond to requests for comment.