Busting the EPA's secret government

Something is rotten in the EPA, and Christopher Horner is the man exposing it. For reasons undisclosed, the agency with vast discretionary power over the minutiae of operating a business in the United States has chosen to violate the law and engage in undisclosed secret communications, in utter violation of transparency laws.  Stephen Dinen of the Washington Times reports on Horner's latest move, an unprecedented suit demanding disclosure of instant messages:

Top Environmental Protection Agency officials used computer instant messages to try to circumvent open-records laws, according to a lawsuit filed by a researcher who has been hounding the agency to comply with the law.

Christopher C. Horner, the researcher who earlier uncovered that EPA officials were using private email addresses to conduct official business, said that in going over some of those earlier records he discovered that the agency was using instant messages, too.

He is now suing to get a look at those records, which he said the EPA has been stonewalling.

"It seems we have uncovered yet another major transparency scandal in that either EPA is destroying instant messages against the law, or it is withholding them in defiance of its legal obligations to produce," Mr. Horner said.

The lawsuit says EPA "has never produced an instant message in response either to a request under FOIA, or in response to a congressional oversight request, despite numerous requests from both for 'records' or 'electronic records.'"

The complaint was filed late Thursday and was served Monday on the EPA by Mr. Horner, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the American Tradition Institute's Environmental Law Center.

What with the head of the EPA having used a phony email address to circumvent disclosure and with the flouting of disclosure obligations, there seems to be a pattern of behavior here. I wonder at what point conspiracy laws become relevant? Given the stakes involved in EPA actions, transparency is the public's only protection from corruption.

Bravo to Horner and CEI. They are pulling on an important thread on the garment of Obama administration environmental policies.


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