EPA “Loses” Text Messages Sought In Records Request

That’s right, another issue of transparency regarding Team Obama, this time at the EPA

(Fox News) The EPA is being accused of pulling “an IRS” for reportedly planning to inform the National Archives it has lost text messages being sought in an open-records request.

The Washington Times reported Wednesday that lawyers from the Department of Justice informed a federal court of the EPA’s plans to tell the National Archives it cannot produce the text messages because they have been deleted.

The open-records request in question came from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is seeking text messages from the devices of EPA administrator Gina McCarthy.

Christopher Horner, a senior fellow for the institute, told FoxNews.com in a statement it is clear the EPA has not learned from the IRS’ mistakes. The tax agency came under fire earlier this year after it announced it could not locate an untold number of emails sought in congressional probes into the agency’s targeting of conservative groups.

“Here we see EPA agreeing to the court to ‘do an IRS’, which is to say: notify the National Archivist of the loss of every one of Gina McCarthy’s thousands of text messages we have discovered she destroyed, just as the IRS finally agreed to notify (the National Archives) about the emails lost from (former IRS official) Lois Lerner’s destroyed hard drive,” he said. “The IRS’s insincere efforts at following through on Federal Records Act obligations drew the court’s ire – the same court now hearing the EPA case.  Taxpayers should rightly expect EPA to have learned the proper lesson from the IRS’s experience and hope for better.”

On one hand, the EPA is saying “no biggie” because the texts are personal messages. On the other, they’re informing the National Archivist that official messages have been lost (now that they’ve been caught). Over to that Washington Times article

Unlike other agencies surveyed by The Times, the EPA says it has had a policy since 2005 instructing employees to save any text messages that would qualify for preservation, and it has no evidence that employees are failing to do that.

The EPA also says that even if text messages were being destroyed in violation with its guidance, that’s not against the law because they believe text messages are “transitory records … which may be deleted when no longer needed,” Ms. Purchia said.

Go that? It’s against EPA policy to delete the messages, but, hey, no biggie if they are. Try this with your own company and see what happens. The metadata shows that many messages were, in fact, sent to phone numbers owned by the EPA.

I think we can agree that not all the messages were EPA business. The judge in the case acknowledged that. But, McCarthy has a history of playing fast and loose with the rules of record retention, and she surely deleted messages that were government business.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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