Inhofe investigates ‘potentially illegal’ activity within EPA

Under the Hatch Act, most federal employees in the executive branch are prohibited from engaging in political campaign activities.

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In a letter sent Wednesday, Inhofe asked Curt Spalding, administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 1, and Nancy Sutley, chairwoman on the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), to disclose records between the EPA, CEQ and the Organization for Action (OFA) — an independent organization Inhofe said is targeting GOP campaigns — within 15 business days.

Inhofe said if there was coordination between the groups that it was “deceiving” and “potentially illegal.”

“Any inappropriate coordination being conducted among the White House, Members of Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and OFA is of grave concern,” the letter stated. “Clearly OFA is now engaging in political activities and it appears as though they are closely coordinating efforts with EPA and CEQ, negating their independence.”

Inhofe accused OFA of participating in recent EPA and CEQ events aimed at promoting President Obama’s push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by regulating carbon emission of existing U.S. power plants. Scientists have linked increased greenhouse gas emissions with global climate change.

The EPA and the CEQ said there was no wrongdoing because the events were not coordinated with OFA.

“Chair Sutley participated in events in Rhode Island and Connecticut coordinated with state and local officials and public health, environmental and other stakeholders to highlight the public health and energy security impacts of climate change — these events were in no way coordinated with OFA,” said Taryn Tuss, a spokeswoman for the CEQ.

Inhofe, who serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is an avid climate change denier, calling it the biggest “hoax” perpetrated upon the public.

“There seems to be a coincidental coordination between the White House, the president’s campaign, and the liberal media that is weaving a false and potentially harmful narrative of alarmism,” Inhofe wrote. “This agenda will leave our nation less secure, less prosperous and less informed.”

Oklahoma produces a portion of the U.S. oil supply. Inhofe has encouraged the administration to utilize all U.S. energy resources in order to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign fuels. Democrats argue that the United States should invest in and use greener energy technologies.