Psst: There are four separate scandals going on at EPA right now
posted at 9:21 pm on June 10, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham
Oh, that we were not flooded with scandals already, this might actually rate some coverage. But alas, as it is, even a news junkie like myself didn’t know there were four separate EPA scandals going on until Gabriel Malor laid it out for me. You should follow him because he’s smart.
Four simultaneous scandals is the most of any agency we’re talking about right now. It’s gonna take a lot more attention before the EPA is forced to clean house. More than a couple congressional letters, I would think, which is why I’m writing about it now. I don’t know if it’s because EPA is relatively more popular than some of the other agencies embroiled in scandal now, or if these scandals simply affect fewer people directly, but this is probably the best chance we’ve had in a while to curtail EPA’s prosperity-destroying activities.
1) The EPA gave an ethics award to fake employee, “Richard Windsor,” who was already just an unethically created e-mail alias for the agency’s former head, Lisa P. Jackson.
HotAir’s covered this story several times, but it really escalated to a point I don’t think I would have even concocted for a fictional account of government stupidity for fear it might feel like a reach. But government stupidity, undaunted by such a challenge and unbound by the limits of my imagination indeed awarded the “scholar of ethical behavior” award, among other professional recognitions, to a dude who does not exist and was created merely to unethically circumvent FOIA requests.
As the result of the persistence of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in pursuing their Freedom of Information Act requests, we found out late last year that Jackson had been using an epa.gov email account under the name of “Richard Windsor,” and that in practice it looked an awful lot like a deliberate attempt by Jackson to fly beneath the transparency radar when communicating about costly and publicly controversial EPA ideas and initiatives. Even better, it now looks like the EPA awarded the non-existent Richard Windsor with several of the oh-so-august bureaucracy’s required workplace certifications
As Erika wrote, this is real life.
2) The EPA makes conservatives pay a fortune for FOIAs to be granted while waiving fees for liberal groups.
Specifically, CEI asserts that the EPA is waiving FOIA fees for what it describes as left-wing groups – like the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and EarthJustice – while it “systematically denies waivers for groups on the right,” according to CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner.
Horner said his research shows that from January 2012 to Spring 2013 the fees for “green” groups were waived in 75 out of 82 cases. Meanwhile, the EPA effectively or expressly denied his request for fee waivers in 14 of 15 FOIA instances over this same time period. Horner’s appeals of the EPA decisions to deny his fee waivers were rejected.
Further review, Horner said, established that “green” groups proved successful in getting their fees waived 92 percent of the time.
As Gabe notes, the EPA is kindly “considering” an investigation into this matter. Most transparent administration evah. More pressure, please, Congress!
3) EPA contractors are basically Gym, Tan, Laundrying in new, swanky rec rooms thanks to your tax money.
In a huge Environmental Protection Agency warehouse in Landover, enterprising workers made sure that they had all the comforts of home. They created personal rec rooms with televisions, radios, chairs and couches. On the walls were photos, calendars and pinups. For entertainment, they had books, magazines and videos. If they got hungry, they could grab something from a refrigerator and pop it into a microwave.
The crown jewel of their hideaway — which stored EPA office furnishings — was a 30-by-45-foot athletic center, cobbled together from “surplus” EPA gym equipment and decked out with a music system provided via “other agency inventory items,” according to a recently released inspector general’s report.
All of it was carefully hidden from security cameras by partitions and piles of boxes set up by the workers, employees of Apex Logistics, the contractor that ran the warehouse until the EPA severed ties after learning of the situation last month.
4) The EPA leaked confidential information on farmers and cattle facilities to environmental groups. No bigs.
According to a letter from a group of Senators to Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe, the EPA “released farm information for 80,000 livestock facilities in 30 states as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from national environmental organizations. It is our understanding that the initial release of data contained personal information that was not required by the FOIA request for ten states including Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio and Utah. This release included names and personal addresses.”
The Senators sent the letter Friday to express concern over the sensitivity of the data that was released to groups like Earth Justice, Pew Charitable Trust and Natural Resources Defense Council and to ask how the EPA plans to protect the data of farms and ranches that are also homes to families.
I’m in ur database, leakin to your political enemies.