Hillary Clinton is not the only Obama Administration official to have used private e-mails to conduct official government business. Documents obtained by Freedom of Information Act request by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) illustrate how U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) circumvented federal law by conducting official business on private e-mail servers with ‘green’ interest groups and “industry validator” lobbyists to write rules and regulations.
Michael J. Bradley, who as president and founder of a for-profit energy consulting firm was representing a number of corporate and ‘green’ energy advocates, sent an e-mail to Joe Goffman, senior counsel in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. In that e-mail, Bradley wrote, “Joe, Would you please send this email to Gina [McCarthy, EPA Administrator] for me? I would have sent it to her directly with a cc to you but I don’t have a private email address for her and would prefer to not use an office email address.”
Addressing the rest of the e-mail to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Bradley continues, “The companies [some of which are Bradley clients] want to remain supportive of the final CSAPR…Our goal is to have a rule implemented that is legally sound, gives the industry the needed business certainty for investments in cleaner generation, and addresses the air transport issues affecting many of the state in which the CEG members operate [CEG=Clean Energy Group, which is a coalition of electric generating and electric distribution companies that Bradley’s firm runs]. We would not want to see the rule stayed.”
This use of private e-mail has been standard practice, as exposed by past reports E&E Legal of this kind of activity having taken place under the previous EPA Administrator under President Obama, Lisa Jackson.
“That it is a regular practice of senior officials of this EPA to use private e-mail accounts and other ‘off-book’ techniques to craft rules with ‘green’ activists with clear financial and political interests is now clear beyond a reasonable doubt,” said E&E Legal Senior Legal Fellow Chris Horner. “The e-mail from Michael Bradley, an individual representing private interests, to Joe Goffman and Gina McCarthy, which Goffman forwards to a non-official email account of his colleague, are obvious efforts to impact federal regulation outside of the required system.”
While the Obama administration has sought to implement a carbon tax and a cap and trade scheme via the EPA without Congressional approval, the agency has faced heavy criticism for the degree it has allowed ‘green’ special interest groups to strongly influence public policy and regulations coming from the agency.
“This Administration has a real problem understanding the rules when it comes to using private e-mail accounts to conduct public business,” said E&E Legal Executive Director Craig Richardson. “Hillary Clinton has set the bar for flagrant use of private email to conduct official business ‘off-line,’ but EPA comes in at a close second. In so doing the EPA has essentially outsourced it’s rule-making function to ‘green’ activists and rent-seeking lobbies hell-bent on destroying traditional energy sources in an effort to replace it with renewables, an industry that their wealthy benefactors are already making a killing at the taxpayer and ratepayer expense.”
Once again, the abuse of power and conflicts of interest involved that have come to light here are worthy of full oversight investigations and those involved being held accountable. Agencies like the EPA are supposed to act in the public interests, and not for those who have a vested interest in the outcome of such public policies.