GOP report cites ‘culture of secrecy and evasion’ at EPA under Jackson

Republican lawmakers on Monday issued a scathing report accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of flouting transparency regulations in pursuit of its policy goals.

“The Obama Administration has advanced the most aggressive, far-left environmental agenda ever and developed the most secretive, behind-closed-doors way of doing it. And that's not by accident,” said Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. 

The 30-page report, prepared by Republican members of the panel, primarily focuses on EPA activities under former Administrator Lisa Jackson, who left the agency in February. 

It accuses agency officials of establishing an alias identity to hide Jackson’s actions — a nod to the “Richard Windsor” scandal — and taking an unresponsive posture with regard to requests made of the agency under the Freedom of Information Act.

EPA officials, the lawmakers alleged, have mismanaged the electronic records system in a manner that has jeopardized some federal records, and redacted too much information from documents that have been released.

Further, the report contends, EPA officials have continuously avoided congressional oversight.

“The Committee’s investigation reveals that under the leadership of Lisa P. Jackson, EPA developed a culture of secrecy and evasion, which has since allowed them to hide their actions from the public and from Congress,” the report concludes.

The lawmakers noted that the agency agreed to certain reforms during negotiations surrounding the conformation of new EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy but emphasized that concerns remain.