Energy and Commerce Leaders Raise Concerns Over EPA’s Use of Secondary Email Accounts and Aliases

December 13, 2012

DID YOU KNOW… That Richard Windsor and Lisa Jackson Are the Same Person?

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) today wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson concerning the agency’s use of secondary email accounts and aliases. It was recently revealed that Jackson often used the alias “Richard Windsor” in an alternate, non-public email account to conduct agency business. The committee leaders are concerned that the agency’s use of these secret email accounts may affect EPA’s response to congressional requests and other official procedures. An underlying concern is that pseudonyms could be used to avoid FOIA requests and other scrutiny.

In the letter to Jackson, the members wrote, “In recent weeks, questions have been raised in Congress and among public interest groups about the use of one or more secondary email accounts and aliases by you and potentially other officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Given your reported use of at least one alias email account in your conduct of agency business, we write to ask that you describe fully the nature and extent of this practice.

“Over the past two years, the Energy and Commerce Committee initiated a number of oversight inquiries seeking information and documents relating to actions and policy decisions at the Environmental Protection Agency, including regulatory actions and major rulemakings that required your review or approval.  Some of these matters have generated significant controversy and public interest.  We recognize the utility of a secondary, internal email account for the conduct of agency business.  We seek to understand whether conducting business with an alias has in any way affected the transparency of the agency’s activities or the quality or completeness of information provided to the Committee pursuant to Rules X and XI of the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

The members requested written responses to a series of specific questions by December 21, 2012.

To read the full letter, click HERE