WASHINGTON, D.C., June 5, 2013 – White House Press Secretary Jay Carney finally got asked about the growing email scandal in the Obama administration on Tuesday, a scandal begun several months before when a CEI senior fellow revealed the widespread use of private accounts, false identity and other tools to frustrate recordkeeping and disclosure laws. But Carney’s answer didn’t square with the facts, said Chris Horner, senior fellow and attorney with the Competitive Enterprise Institute whose research has exposed widespread administration efforts betraying the many public vows of unprecedented transparency.
“Jay Carney claims nobody in the administration uses private accounts? We’ve proven over and over that is outrageously false,” said Horner, who uncovered use of fake employees and misuses of email accounts in research for his book, “The Liberal War on Transparency.”
“We have shown Robert Perciasepe, EPA’s current acting administrator, conducted public business on private email, as did the top administrators for EPA Regions 8 and 9. Documents produced in related litigation we filed revealed an employee using a Ford Foundation email address, as well as an email address for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that apparently does not identify him. Then, of course, the loan guarantee program made infamous by Solyndra was executed on 14 private accounts.”
Yet according to The Hill newspaper, Carney “flatly denied” government officials were using separate secret accounts to avoid public records requests.
“There’s nothing secret,” Carney said. “It’s about having a public email address and one for internal workings, but they’re all available for FOIA searches.” That avoids the promiscuous use of private email accounts, of course, but also assumes all .gov accounts are searched, and sufficiently identify the official, neither of which assumption is presently supportable.
Carney had been asked to comment on an Associated Press report that appointees at a variety of federal agencies, including the EPA and Health and Human Services, used secondary email accounts. EPA administrators have been issued secondary accounts going back to Carol Browner, who served in the Clinton administration. But none, until Jackson, created a fictitious employee that even masked the official’s identity and who, as CEI revealed this week, even received awards for compling ethics, cybersecurity awareness and whistleblower training.
“The ‘to’ accounts issued to previous administrators indeed were there to help manage email traffic.” Horner said. “These accounts identified the official, unlike the Richard Windsor account. So far as we know, these efforts to avoid public scrutiny of their activities were initiated by the most transparent administration, ever.”
CEI is in court with the EPA on a half-dozen cases over the agency’s refusal to reveal information about its war on coal, the science that underlies its clean air regulations and its links with pressure groups and allied corporations to promote a carbon tax and other progressive legislation.
The agency has missed deadlines, erected artificial barriers, such as denying routine fee waivers to CEI to drive up costs and delay proceedings, defied court orders and ignored legitimate information requests – all to protect Jackson, McCarthy and their anti-affordable-energy agenda and further proof of their collusion with far-left pressure groups. McCarthy’s confirmation is being held up by at least one senator until she provides information he has requested on this front.
“The White House wants us to believe ‘they all do it,’” Horner said. “Which is strange enough as the qualification to ‘most transparent, ever’. But they don’t all create fake employees and certify them as ethical scholars. They don’t all create false IDs to avoid FOIA scrutiny. They don’t all abuse the law’s exceptions to avoid turning over even the most routine communications. That’s only the administration Mr. Carney works for. He says this administration ‘compares favorably’ to others. Yet even left-wing lawyers and watchdog groups now call this administration ‘the worst’ on transparency.’ As in, ‘ever’”.