Stranger than Fiction: Ethical Abomination “Richard Windsor” Wins EPA Award for Ethics

by William Yeatman on June 3, 2013

in Blog

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Over at National Review, Eliana Johnson has an excellent post about my colleague Chris Horner’s latest FOIA find. Evidently, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson took her Congressional-mandated transparency training using her false identity, “Richard Windsor.”And Mr. Windsor did well, because she was rewarded with three certificates attesting to her being a “scholar of ethical behavior.”

Documents released by the agency in response to a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that, for three years, the EPA certified Windsor as a “scholar of ethical behavior.”

The agency also documented the nonexistent Windsor’s completion of training courses in the management of e-mail records, cyber-security awareness, and what appears to be a counter-terror initiative that urges federal employees to report suspicious activity.

The EPA made the certifications public in response to a FOIA request from Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who was tipped off to Jackson’s use of the Windsor account by agency employees while he was researching his 2012 book, The Liberal War on Transparency. Horner says that the EPA probably issued agency-wide training requirements for anybody who wished to maintain an active e-mail address, “never contemplating a false identity or fake employee would be created.”

So…EPA’s bloated bureaucracy thought that Lisa Jackson’s alias, the existence of which is a violation of transparency ethics, was a real person, and the agency awarded him/her a citation for ethics. Ladies and gentleman, your taxes at work!

This strange juxtaposition (i.e., Lisa Jackson ostensibly demonstrating her ethical behavior in the act of committing a gross ethical violation) immediately brought to mind the end of Billy Madison, when Billy’s nemesis, Eric, had a meltdown over “business ethics.”

Of course, it requires a degree of compunction to go mad over a cursory confrontation with one’s ethical antithesis. Unlike Eric, Mr. Windsor suffered no such scruples.

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