EPA Tries to Duck Investigation of Destroyed Federal Records

October 24, 2014

WASHINGTON – This week, the Environmental Protection Agency filed its latest effort to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI v. EPA No. 13-1532) over the EPA destroying federal records without explanation, much like recent news involving the IRS and Lois Lerner’s files.

“U.S. law states agencies must notify the national archivist of the unlawful alteration or destruction of records and must try to recover those records with the help of the Attorney General,” said CEI senior fellow and attorney Chris Horner. “Instead of cooperating on this clear violation of the law, the EPA is simply denying it. When bureaucrats, activists, or political appointees say there is no reason to look into something, that usually means there is a reason, and they don’t want you to find out.”

This case is part of an ongoing CEI effort to investigate the EPA’s attempts to skirt federal recordkeeping laws by using text messages and circumvent the legislative process in order to pursue the administration’s climate agenda.

“Through our open-records requests, CEI discovered that EPA administrator Gina McCarthy not only lost thousands of text messages used to conduct official government business, but that she admitted to knowingly deleting all of them, each one,” said Horner. “Now we’re trying to put a stop to the EPA’s illegal cyber bonfire and force the agency to notify the archivist so we can attempt to recover some of the destroyed records.”

Note: This case is directly related to CEI’s discovery that former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson used a secret email account called “Richard Windsor” to conduct government business, which led to Jackson’s early retirement in 2013.

View U.S. law (Title 44, Section 3106) on “unlawful removal, destruction of records.”