Obama Scandals number #5 and #6 just since the presidential election
Now there are two other new scandals:
1) The EPA
. . . The allegations concern the Environmental Protection Agency, which is being accused of trying to charge conservative groups fees while largely exempting liberal groups. The fees applied to Freedom of Information Act requests -- allegedly, the EPA waived them for liberal groups far more often than it did for conservative ones. . . .This reminds one of the waivers that the Obama administration gave out for Obamacare. If the Obama administration is giving conservatives a hard time with these fees, how hard of a time do you think that the administration has given conservatives with respect to their regulatory decisions?
Research by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank, claims that the political bias is routine when it comes to deciding which groups are charged fees. Christopher Horner, senior fellow at CEI, said liberal groups have their fees for documents waived about 90 percent of the time, in contrast with conservative groups that it claims are denied fee waivers about 90 percent of the time.
"The idea is to throw hurdles in our way," charged Horner, who says he decided to look into the fee structure after the EPA repeatedly turned down his group for waivers. . . .
2) Secret email accounts for top Obama officials
There has been the recent secret emails by Lisa Jackson at the EPA to avoid reporting requirements (see here, here, and here). But now the AP reports that this desire to skirt the law apparently covers many other many Obama appointments.
Some of President Barack Obama's political appointees, including the Cabinet secretary for the Health and Human Services Department, are using secret government email accounts they say are necessary to prevent their inboxes from being overwhelmed with unwanted messages, according to a review by The Associated Press.Drive perceptions that "government officials are trying to hide actions or decisions"? Seriously, just the perceptions. Lisa Jackson denied even having this alternative account. Her real mistake was using an EPA email account. If she hadn't used this, it might never have been discovered. How would one even know how many additional email accounts that these officials might have? The AP can't even get information on the number of these accounts.
The scope of using the secret accounts across government remains a mystery: Most U.S. agencies have failed to turn over lists of political appointees' email addresses, which the AP sought under the Freedom of Information Act more than three months ago. The Labor Department initially asked the AP to pay more than $1 million for its email addresses. . . .
The practice is separate from officials who use personal, non-government email accounts for work, which generally is discouraged - but often happens anyway - due to laws requiring that most federal records be preserved.
The secret email accounts complicate an agency's legal responsibilities to find and turn over emails in response to congressional or internal investigations, civil lawsuits or public records requests because employees assigned to compile such responses would necessarily need to know about the accounts to search them. Secret accounts also drive perceptions that government officials are trying to hide actions or decisions.
"What happens when that person doesn't work there anymore? He leaves and someone makes a request (to review emails) in two years," said Kel McClanahan, executive director of National Security Counselors, an open government group. "Who's going to know to search the other accounts? You would hope that agencies doing this would keep a list of aliases in a desk drawer, but you know that isn't happening."
Agencies where the AP so far has identified secret addresses, including the Labor Department and HHS . . .
UPDATE: Here is a note that Politico has.
Agency spokespeople generally assert that such alias accounts are searched when the public, law enforcement or Congress asks for information, but some experts doubt they are consistently searched or will be after officials leave. . . .