Jackson, who left the agency earlier this year, used an e-mail account associated with the pseudonym Richard Windsor to take online training programs on subjects including ethics, whistleblowers and records preservation, said the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has been critical of the agency. CEI said Monday that it had obtained EPA records that covered certifications in 2010, 2011, and 2012 through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Republicans have pounced on Jackson’s use of the fake identity for her non-public e-mail account, saying that it might be part of an effort to skirt transparency and public records requirements. (As to the origin of the alias, Richard was the name of Jackson’s dog, and Windsor refers to East Windsor, N.J., Jackson’s former hometown).
An EPA spokeswoman tells the Loop that it’s been standard practice for years for the head of the agency to use a seperate e-mail address for “internal business.”
“The internal account is an everyday, working email account for the Administrator to conduct the business of the Agency and communicate with staff and other government officials,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “The business of the agency includes taking mandatory ethics and security training and as evidenced by EPA’s FOIA response, the former Administrator complied with all training requirements.”
CEI senior fellow Christopher Horner said that use of an alias account for work activities was troubling.
“The best one can say is that if you’re going to use a false identity for federal recordkeeping purposes, the fake employee may as well be fully certified in the law and ethics of the matter,” he said in a statement.