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EPA head resigns; Obama 'most transparent administration' pledge up in a nom de plume of smoke

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By Doug Powers  •  December 28, 2012 11:15 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

Yesterday, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that she would be stepping down after four years at her post, purportedly to seek “new challenges” and to spend more time with her family. However, she didn’t mention if the family she’d be spending more time with is the Jacksons, or the Windsors.

From Mark Tapscott via Ace of Spades:

After years of whispers that EPA officials frequently used private email addresses, fake names and coded messages to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, Jackson admitted recently to using “Richard Windsor” as her chosen nom de plume on a government email account.

That was her choice because it reminded her of a much-beloved family pet, she claimed. (At least she didn’t ask how anybody could suspect a puppy lover like her of any wrongdoing.) The EPA inspector general opened an investigation into the matter because it is against federal law to use nonofficial or secret email addresses to conduct official business.

In 2009 President Obama said “we will achieve our goal of making this administration the most open and transparent administration in history,” but he forgot to mention that they also really really love to honor their pets in bizarre ways that in no way undercut the transparency pledge.

Jackson’s use of a fake name on government emails wasn’t mentioned in most MSM stories about her resignation, but it likely played a role in the decision:

The agency did not offer an explanation. But Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said the scrutiny over the alias emails is clearly a factor.

“Life’s full of coincidences, but this is too many,” he told FoxNews.com. “She had no choice.”

Horner and CEI earlier this year had sued the EPA for documents pertaining to Jackson’s use of alias email accounts. She was said to operate under the name “Richard Windsor” — the use of those accounts has since drawn the scrutiny of Republican members of Congress, as well as triggered an audit by the EPA inspector general.

According to court documents, the EPA — represented by the Justice Department — two weeks ago agreed to release as many as 12,000 emails pertaining to the CEI request beginning by Jan. 14, at a rate of 3,000 documents per month. The court accepted the schedule last week.

Horner said the increased scrutiny on the alias account, coupled with what those emails might contain regarding the administration’s alleged “war on coal,” likely contributed to Jackson’s announcement Thursday.

By the way, sure, Jackson resigned, but these days that word seems to have a very loose definition, so don’t be surprised to see her back at a different desk. However, if she really does leave, Windsor Jackson probably won’t have any trouble finding another job. It certainly hasn’t been a problem for others who worked under her.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I just got an email from a federal government account from somebody named “Champ Malarkey” — better go see what that’s all about.

Update: Make your own #EPASecretEmailName.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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