CEI: EPA Administrator’s Resignation A Good First Step

Washington, D.C. – December 27, 2012 –  The Competitive Enterprise Institute released the following statement on the news today that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will resign early in the new year:

We believe EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has chosen the proper course by resigning. As the focus of an investigation by her agency’s own inspector general and inquiries from at least two committees of Congress, she no longer could effectively serve as administrator of the EPA.

We also believe the timing was no accident. She claims to have told President Obama shortly after his re-election she planned to leave in early 2013, but her announcement went public just days after the Justice Department agreed – as a result of a lawsuit filed by CEI – to begin producing 12,000 emails from her “Richard Windsor” alias account. The emails relate to the war on coal Jackson was orchestrating on behalf of President Obama outside the appropriate democratic process.

Unchecked, her use of an alias email account to conduct official business – which CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner exposed in his book The Liberal War On Transparency – could set a dangerous precedent in which those who administer massive public agencies attempt to do the peoples’ business using  secret names.

But this scandal cannot end with Jackson’s resignation. She appears to have illegally evaded deliberative procedures and transparency requirements set in law – as did the federal appointees and career employees with whom she communicated through her alias email account. She must be held to account, as must those others – both to assure the peoples’ business is done in public and to send a signal to other high-level government officials this conduct cannot and will not be tolerated.

Meanwhile, CEI will continue to try to get to the bottom of Jackson’s efforts to evade public scrutiny of her actions. We have and will continue to pursue what we have determined to be widespread similar behavior including private email accounts, private computers and privately owned computer servers used to hide discussions that, by law, must be open to scrutiny and be part of the public record. The administration has admitted the agency has destroyed documents in apparent violation of the federal criminal code, and we intend to continue to investigate and expose these attempts to hide the agency’s actions.