House GOP adds pressure on EPA over FOIA fees


"This activity calls into question the objectivity of the FOIA employees at EPA and undermines public confidence in an agency that is charged with protecting our air and water," the lawmakers add.

Their complaints come in response to a May report from the Conservative Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank, that showed that the agency waived fees for FOIA requests from environmental groups 92 percent of the time, compared to just 27 percent of the time for conservative outfits.

"Worse, this comes to light as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) are being investigated for abuses of power," the lawmakers add. "In the case of the IRS, as with the EPA, it appears as though conservative groups were targeted as well."

Republicans in the Senate have already jumped on the agency and suggested it might be colluding with environmental organizations for political purposes. 

In response, Perciasepe has asked the EPA's inspector general to review its policy for assessing fees for FOIA requests, and denied that the agency means to treat groups differently.