Wednesday, May 15, 2013

EPA Awards Fee Waiver Requests to Friendlies Groups; Denies Conservatives

According to documents obtained by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the IRS is not the only agency making the lives of Conservatives, limited-government groups, etc. difficult.  The Environmental Protection Agency has established a pattern of making it difficult for Conservative groups to access public records.
“Public records produced by EPA in response to a lawsuit filed by CEI under the Freedom of Information Act illustrate a pattern of making it far more difficult for limited-government groups – in particular those who argue for more freedom and less EPA – to access public records.
Such groups are precisely those Congress and courts made clear FOIA was intended to protect from fees being used as a hurdle to obtaining information, without prejudice as to their perspective. Worse, CEI has now obtained proof of the spectacularly disparate nature of the practice, specifically revealing extraordinarily favorable treatment of the same green groups it’s been shown to be collaborating with on its agenda….
FOIA is clear that public interest groups who, by trade, obtain and broadly disseminate ‘government’ information to the public are the intended beneficiaries of its provision for waiving fees. EPA routinely grants such fee waivers to its favored left-wing groups who demand a more intrusive and powerful EPA, but systematically denies waivers for groups on the right, according to research compiled by CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner, author of ‘The Liberal War on Transparency.’
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 Natural 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.1
Moreover, every denial Horner appealed was overturned. ‘That these denials are ritually overturned on appeal, not after I presented any new evidence or made any new point, but simply restated what was a detailed and heavily sourced legal document to begin with, reaffirms the illegitimacy of these hurdles EPA places in the way of those who cause it problems.’ Horner said. ‘EPA’s practice is to take care of its friends and impose ridiculous obstacles to deny problematic parties’ requests for information….”
What we have in play here is yet another Obama scandal.  Of the EPA friendly groups, 92% had their fees waived while 93% of request for fee waivers by Conservative groups were denied.
Unfortunately, the double standards applied by federal agencies under the Obama administration extends far beyond the IRS and the EPA.

All posts cross-posted on PUMABydesign001's Blog