WASHINGTON – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement in response to yesterday’s federal appeals court ruling that work-related emails from a private account used by the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren are subject to disclosure under federal open records laws. Yesterday’s ruling rejected the Obama administration’s claim that emails on a private server were outside the government's control.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “In a victory for government transparency, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed that the White House’s top science advisor cannot hide his work-related emails from public disclosure by using a private email account. Dr. Holdren’s attempt to shield his emails highlights once again why the Obama administration is not living up to the president’s commitment to be ‘the most transparent administration in history.’
“During President Obama’s time in office, the Committee has uncovered many similar attempts to avoid transparency at agencies across the government: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used the fictitious ‘Richard Windsor’ email alias to avoid having her communications included in FOIA requests; the current EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, communicated with environmental activists via text message; a former environmental activist working at the EPA, Michael Goo, used a private email account to share internal EPA documents and discuss strategy with his former colleagues at the NRDC; senior officials at the Department of Energy urged federal employees to avoid using official email accounts because doing so ‘makes them subpoenable’; and we learned just yesterday the extent to which former Secretary Hilary Clinton endangered classified information by setting up a private email server with inadequate security in an attempt to keep her communications from public scrutiny.
“Investigations by the Science Committee and other Committees, along with lawsuits by government watchdog organizations, have revealed a pattern of obstruction by the Obama administration. Yesterday’s ruling in support of government transparency by the Court of Appeals is a welcome development. The Committee will continue to press the administration to reveal what it so often attempts to hide. It’s time the Obama administration lived up to its pledge of transparency for the American people.”