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Just one of many sleazy affairs

Posted: July 15, 2013 - 11:02pm

This editorial first appeared in the Republican American of Waterbury (Conn.):

The Internal Revenue Service’s harassment of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012 was a sleazy affair, but it was only one of many.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “was making it nearly impossible for groups critical of the agency to obtain any information,” according to a recent Weekly Standard magazine report that said 18 of 20 Freedom of Information Act requests made by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, free-market think tank, were denied while “the vast majority of requests” from environmental groups were approved.

Add the Obama administration’s “war” on Fox News and the White House access enjoyed by lobbyists for liberal causes, and one can only conclude the administration is obsessed with politics.

Administration officials use personal email accounts for official business, in violation of the Federal Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act. Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, a notable offender, abruptly resigned last December, “just as the scandal was starting to generate congressional attention,” according to the Weekly Standard.

Thomas Perez, head of Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the president’s nominee for Labor secretary, also engaged in this practice. He used his personal account to coordinate a deal that led the city of St. Paul, Minn., to drop its appeal of a housing-discrimination case. Perez has ignored a House committee’s subpoena to turn over business-related emails from the account.

Since this problem is recurrent, the president’s rhetorical emphasis on ethics is a sham. With revelations of improprieties swirling, the news media and Congress should be as tough on him as possible, on the side of the people and America’s best ideals.

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