Judge rules EPA lied about transparency, tells agency to halt discrimination against

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  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    A federal judge warned the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday not to discriminate against conservative groups in how it responds to open-records requests, issuing a legal spanking.

    Judge Royce C. Lamberth concluded the agency may have lied to the court and showed “apathy and carelessness” in carrying out the law, though the judge was unable to determine if documents were intentionally destroyed.

    Judge Lamberth described the “absurdity” of the way the EPA handled a Freedom of Information Act request from the Landmark Legal Foundation and then the court case stemming from it — including late last week admitting it lied to the court about how it went about searching for documents.

    In a scorching 25-page opinion, the judge accused the agency of “insulting” him by first claiming it had done a full search for records, then years later retracting that claim without any explanation.

    “The recurrent instances of disregard that EPA employees display for FOIA obligations should not be tolerated by the agency,” the judge said in a 25-page ruling. “This court would implore the executive branch to take greater responsibility in ensuring that all EPA FOIA requests — regardless of the political affiliation of the requester — are treated with equal respect and conscientiousness.”

    The ruling could be seen as a rebuke to President Obama, who took office vowing to run the most transparent administration in history, but who has faced increasing challenges over how he’s lived up to that claim. The EPA in particular has been in a years-long battle with conservative groups who argue the agency has ignored them while playing favorites with liberal groups.



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