The Obama administration's other email scandal

The Lois Lerner email flap isn't the only problem the administration has with record keeping. Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has filed a lawsuit against the NSA in response to the agency's refusal to comply with two FOIA requests concerning EPA correspondence. Horner is seeking  “metadata” from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s "phone communications, email and text messages," according to this article in Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal:

In advance of her Senate confirmation, McCarthy told lawmakers she was uncomfortable with instant messaging and thus did not use EPA’s “IM” system. But text messaging, Horner said, is something her phone bills showed she did with great regularity—and increasingly over time.

McCarthy later claimed that thousands of text messages on her EPA-issued phone were 100 percent personal in nature and thus took the liberty of deleting them.

Horner said he’s established that McCarthy was, in fact, a prolific texter. He said he has been informed she was cautioned by the agency at one point about messages she had sent during and about her experience in congressional hearings.

McCarthy’s predecessor, Lisa Jackson, faced questions about transparency as EPA administrator.

The EPA has worked repeatedly to make an end-run around federal record-keeping laws, the Competitive Enterprise Institute claims in a press release, “by using personal devices, including email accounts and text messages, to conduct work-related correspondence and otherwise do federal business.”

Horner, who is the author of “The Liberal War on Transparency,” played an instrumental role in exposing the “Richard Windsor” email scandal at the EPA. “Richard Windsor” is the fake name Jackson used to circumvent federal records-keeping laws. Jackson resigned just days after a federal judge ruled the EPA had to turn over 12,000 “Richard Windsor” emails for public review. (A detailed timeline of the email scandal is available here.)

Unable to penetrate the EPA, Horner set his sights on the NSA data-collection program Edward Snowden brought to light a year ago.

Horner and his colleagues are looking for private communications between top EPA officials and the environmental lobby to see if there was coordination of their activities. Such coordination wouldn't be illegal, but a transparent administration would want that kind of information made available to the public.

This administration feels it necessary to destroy communications that might prove politically embarrassing. They wouldn't be the first to do so. But after making a huge deal about how "transparent" they are compared to past administrations, they should be called out on every example that belies that notion.