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New EPA Email Lawsuit Challenges Administration’s Transparency Claims

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In the wake of the Hillary Clinton personal email scandal at the State Department, another former senior Obama administration official’s email account prompted a lawsuit today filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI).

Tracing back to a 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the emails of then-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson’s account in the name of fictitious employee Richard Windsor, the EPA must now answer for behavior making even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appear transparent.

Specifically, EPA has stonewalled CEI repeatedly and continues to slow-walk CEI’s “Windsor” request, insisting it need only process 120,000 records at the glacial pace of 100 records processed per month; that is, it says it will conclude this production in 100 years.  Making matters worse, EPA refuses to process other CEI requests until after that time, unless CEI agrees to put its “Windsor” request on hold.

This is 1/30th the rate at which EPA processed certain “Windsor” emails relating to its “war on coal”, and spectacularly shy of Mrs. Clinton’s processing, for selective production, of 55,000 emails in just four months.  This unreasonable timeline on an issue of obvious and increasing public interest -- efforts by senior officials flouting President Obama’s “most transparent administration, ever” pledge to thwart transparency -- prompted CEI to file suit today.

“We have shown this administration using whatever tactics it can – even violating the law – to hide what is going on in our federal agencies, whether it’s Hillary Clinton’s personal email account, Lisa Jackson working with lobbyists on her own private account, utilizing text messages then destroying them, or this slow-rolling production of Richard Windsor emails for a century,” said Chris Horner senior fellow at CEI. “What are they trying to hide? If previously uncovered Windsor emails are any indication, it ranges from the embarrassing to the unlawful.  Hillary Clinton and EPA’s Richard Windsor both seem to be on the administration’s transparency dodgeball team, dodging the public’s requests to know what they’re up to.  After EPA stonewalled even a federal mediation process, we now turn to the court for relief from an agency behaving as if it is above the law.  It isn’t.”

To read the original FOIA request, see the EPA’s response, and read the brief that was filed today click here.

Horner has been leading the charge to probe into the EPA’s Richard Windsor email account and current Administrator Gina McCarthy’s text messages through multiple FOIA requests to help the American public understand what is going on behind closed doors in this administration.

For more information on Chris Horner’s FOIA work regarding the EPA, visit these links:

https://cei.org/richard-windsor  
https://cei.org/citations/epas-anti-transparency-antics  
https://cei.org/content/hillary-clinton-not-alone-dodging-law-email-use