Combine your family dog’s name with the name of your old home town and what do you get? In the case of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, you get in trouble with some lawmakers for having a less-than-obvious e-mail handle.
At the request of congressional Republicans, the EPA’s inspector general has begun auditing how Jackson has used this secondary e-mail account, “Richard Windsor” — named for her dog and the New Jersey township, East Windsor.
The inquiry, according to a Dec. 13 memo written by Melissa M. Heist, the agency’s assistant inspector general for audit, aims “to determine whether EPA follows applicable laws and regulations when using private and alias email accounts to conduct official business.”
Leaders of two House committees with jurisdiction over the EPA have questioned whether the agency has been fully transparent in its handling of electronic records. Last month, House science committee Chairman Ralph M. Hall (R-Tex.) and five of his colleagues wrote to EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr. and questioned whether Jackson violated federal law by using “private email and alias accounts to conduct official government business.” Last week, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and the panel’s chairman of its subcommittee on oversight and investigations, Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), called on Jackson in a letter to account for whether the use of an alias account “has in any way affected the transparency of the agency’s activities or the quality and completeness of information” it has provided the committee in the past.