Vitter: EPA FOIA scandal ‘no different than the IRS disaster’
Daily Caller – Michael Bastasch – 5/17/2013
A Republican senator says allegations that the Environmental Protection Agency has made it more difficult for conservative groups to obtain information is no different from the burgeoning scandal at the IRS.
Shortly after the IRS admitted to targeting conservative groups, it was reported that the EPA has routinely denied fee waiver requests from conservative groups seeking government records, while at the same time, approving such requests to environmental groups.
“We know the Obama EPA has completely mismanaged FOIA, but granting fee waivers for their friends in the far-left environmental community, while simultaneously blocking conservative leaning groups from gaining access to information; is really no different than the IRS disaster,” Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an emailed statement.
The free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute revealed that since January 2012 the EPA granted fee waivers for 75 out of 82 Freedom of Information Act requests sent by major environmental groups and only denied seven of them — a 92 percent success rate for green groups. However, the agency rejected or ignored 21 out of 26 fee waiver requests from conservative groups — an 81 percent rejection rate.
“Their practice is to take care of their friends and impose ridiculous obstacles to deny problematic parties’ requests for information,” said CEI senior fellow Chris Horner.
When a fee waiver is denied, it generally stops the FOIA request as many groups don’t have the resources to pay the fees associated to get the FOIA.
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