U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), today released findings from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) second tranche of Richard Windsor emails. The release shows that acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe used a private email account to conduct official business, similar to Region 8 Administrator, James Martin, who is the subject of an ongoing investigation launched by Vitter and U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (OGR) Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
Sen. Vitter also announced today that he has learned Martin is resigning this week, less than two weeks after hiring legal counsel and following a letter from Vitter and Issa. Read more about Vitter and Issa's investigation into Martin here.
"Region 8 Administrator Martin is likely resigning this week in part because of the open investigation about his use of a non-official email account to conduct official business," said Vitter. "Now we know that Lisa Jackson's acting replacement, Bob Perciasepe, appears to have been doing the same thing to dodge the agency's mandatory recordkeeping policy. EPA owes us all some answers about their absolute disregard for transparency, especially from their acting administrator or any potential nominee to be administrator."
In documents obtained by Senate EPW and House OGR committees, Region 8 Administrator Martin used a non-official, me.com, e-mail account, which may have been an attempt to circumvent the Federal Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and Congressional oversight. The Richard Windsor email release shows that Bob Perciasepe was using a non-official, "perciasepe.org," email account, too.
You can find an example of Perciasepe's non-official email on page 470 at the following link to the EPA's second release of Richard Windsor emails: http://www.epa.gov/epafoia1/docs/Second-Release-Part-O.pdf
"There's a lot of information in these emails that warrant further investigations, but it is clear that EPA continues to abuse exemptions under FOIA law with significant redactions of information to avoid transparency," Vitter added.
EPA instructs its employees to "not use any outside e-mail account to conduct official Agency business." However, the documents obtained suggest that Administrator Martin regularly used a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business, and acting Administrator Perciasepe may be doing the same.