When word broke over the holidays that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was stepping down, it initially seemed like it was one of those stories where a Cabinet member was stepping down after four years on the job - clearing the way for another appointment for President Obama's second term.
Sure, there was controversy during her tenure. She mixed it up with the energy industry along with Congressional Republicans and faced criticism for regulating coal and other energy sources. And, of course, there was the Canada-to-Texas Keystone pipeline, which she vehemently opposed.
But none of that is really in the spotlight now.
Instead, the focus is on the EPA Administrator's communications - her use of email - and reports that she used an alias email - raising significant questions about transparency and violations of federal regulations. The reports triggered a lawsuit which is seeking the release of thousands of EPA emails. And the EPA Inspector General is conducting an audit.
As I told Megyn Kelly on FOX News today, the investigation will turn up the facts, but hiding behind an alias email is just wrong. You can watch the interview here.
What's going on at the EPA? There are reports that the EPA's reported use of secret email accounts dates back to the Clinton Administration and then-Administrator Carol Browner.
As you might expect, there's growing concern in Congress. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) is the incoming top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. His biggest concern: that this is not an isolated incident. "I think this email issue clearly spurred Lisa Jackson's resignation," Sen. Vitter said in a statement. "But it's much broader than her. It's about a culture of hiding an extreme agenda from Americans because it can't be sustained in public debate. I'll fight aggressively to end these practices, which I fear are very widespread."
President Obama has a penchant for presidential power plays. He has been following his own playbook since January 2014 when he declared: “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone” – his promise to do all that he could to bypass Congress – relying on Executive Orders and actions instead of legislation.
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