Executive branch overreach involving deliberate attempts to silence critics of the administration has become a pressing issue. Several revelations have come to light this week threatening to further cloud the Obama Administration’s claim of being “the most transparent administration in history.” With the IRS facing allegations of deliberately targeting conservative groups, and the Department of Justice facing intense scrutiny for secretly monitoring the Associate Press, the executive branch is finding itself under siege from an onslaught of scandals. Now, something new can be added to the pile. According to CEI Senior Fellow Chris Horner, EPA has, in a sign of political bias, denied FOIA Fee Request Waivers requested by conservative groups.
Horner has discovered a clear pattern of bias against conservatives at EPA. While left-wing organizations almost always receive Fee Request waivers, conservative groups have had no such fortune.
According to a CEI press release:
In a review of letters granting or denying fee waivers granted at the “initial determination” stage from January 2012 to this Spring, Horner found green groups, such as the National Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and EarthJustice, had their fees waived in 75 out of 82 cases. Meanwhile, EPA effectively or expressly denied Horner’s request for fee waivers in 14 of 15 FOIA requests over this same time.
The administration’s actions are, perhaps, best described in a quote from Horner in the Washington Examiner. “This is as clear an example of disparate treatment as the IRS’ hurdles selectively imposed upon groups with names ominously reflecting an interest in, say, a less intrusive or biased federal government.”
Below, I’ve posted EPA’s response to the FOIA. (N.B., there were some formatting issues, which rendered pages 2 and 3 inverted.)