Once again, the United States Congress has relied upon Cause of Action’s work to hold federal agencies accountable and demand transparency.

On May 15, 2014, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking for documents based on internal emails Cause of Action obtained showing White House intervention into FOIA and congressional document requests.

OGR seeks documents that will determine “whether White House or EPA employees have engaged in illegal conduct by actively obstructing this Committee’s investigation.”

  • On July 2, 2013, Cause of Action sent a FOIA request to the EPA regarding White House review of document requests, both from FOIA requesters and Congress.
  • The EPA responded to our request with internal e-mails showing the White House delayed an April 10, 2013 joint document request from OGR, led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, led by Ranking Member David Vitter (R-LA).
  • In response to our findings, on November 7, 2013, OGR subpoenaed the EPA for communications with White House officials regarding the agency’s delay to a congressional document request.

According to the Committee’s latest letter, EPA withheld documents improperly: “When the Committee was finally able to review the unredacted e-mails, it was clear that the redactions applied to the FOIA production were made to hide embarrassing conversations between EPA staff.  The redactions were not, in fact, covered by the FOIA exemptions cited by EPA.  It is unacceptable for EPA to hide behind improper FOIA redactions.”

In March 2014, Cause of Action released a report, Grading the Government: How the White House Targets Document Requesters, detailing how the White House is politicizing FOIA and Congressional document requests.

Cause of Action’s strategic investigations help Congress to expose the hypocrisy of this Administration’s claim to be “the most transparent in history.”  Moreover, Cause of Action has empowered the House Oversight Committee to raise unique constitutional concerns related to alleged obstruction of congressional oversight by the President.

In order to hold EPA accountable and give the American taxpayers transparency, Cause of Action has now sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to EPA requesting all documents provided to Congress pursuant to a subpoena as well as documents evidencing communications between EPA and the White House.

You can read CoA’s letter to the EPA here.

You can read the OGR letter to the EPA here.

See all the documents from Cause of Action’s investigation here.


Oversight Committee Letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy by CauseOfAction

May 19, 2014 FOIA to EPA re White House review of records by CauseOfAction