Group goes to court over text messages of Obama’s EPA nominee

The conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking potential messages to or from McCarthy, the agency’s top air pollution regulator, on 18 dates when she testified before Congress.

The lawsuit alleges EPA has not provided the records or a “substantive” response to a late April Freedom of Information Act request, which covers dates McCarthy testified between 2009 and 2012.

CEI alleges McCarthy “regularly used text messaging as an alternative to email for work-related communications.”

The group’s lawsuit also claims that a senior EPA official cautioned McCarthy to “cease using that function on her PDA, due to concerns about the propriety of her texting about Members of Congress specifically on days when she testified before either the House or Senate.”

The EPA said it’s reviewing the latest lawsuit from CEI for internal EPA communication. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

“We are in the process of responding to CEI’s FOIA request, and will review the new lawsuit,” EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson said in an email.

CEI in early April sued the EPA to obtain a separate form of communication – instant messages – to or from McCarthy and two former top officials, including former Administrator Lisa Jackson when she was at the agency.