* EPA's Jackson used email alias named after family dog
* Republicans want EPA to answer questions by Dec. 21
* EPA: chiefs have used 2nd accounts for more than 10 yrs
* EPA: records from 2 accounts provided to FOIA requesters
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON, Dec 13 Republican lawmakers want the
chief of the Environmental Protection Agency to explain her use
of a government-assigned email address under a fake name.
Representatives Fred Upton, the chairman of the House
Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Cliff Stearns formally
asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Thursday if she used an
account with the alias "Richard Windsor" and whether she has
used any other accounts assigned by the agency.
Lawmakers and a public interest watchdog group have
complained that Jackson's second account - named after a family
dog - was not something that could be easily linked to the
Emails Jackson wrote using that account may not have been
captured by Freedom of Information Act requests or made it to
national archives, they argued.
"We recognize the utility of a secondary, internal email
account for the conduct of agency business," the lawmakers said
in a letter to Jackson. "We seek to understand whether
conducting business with an alias has in any way affected the
transparency of the agency's activities."
Upton's committee has for two years been seeking information
and documents related to EPA decisions on pollution rules, but
his chamber has not been able to slow or halt the regulations.
The email alias was first revealed last month in articles by
climate-change skeptic Chris Horner, of the American Tradition
Institute, who discovered it while doing research for a book.
EPA administrators have been assigned two email accounts -
for public and internal use - for more than a decade, the agency
said in a statement in November.
On Thursday the EPA said "responsive records" for both
Jackson's public and internal accounts are provided to FOIA
Last month, a non-partisan government watchdog group asked
the EPA's inspector general to investigate the fake account.
"The easy fix would be to have an account that is more
identifiable as the administrator's," said Anne Weismann, the
chief counsel for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Washington. The arcane alias made the potential for abuse that
much higher, she said.
The lawmakers also asked the EPA to tell them within a week
whether Jackson used an alias for communications with all EPA
employees or a select group and whether she had used an alias
with any non-governmental third parties.