The Latest: Scrutiny of ‘politically charged’ FOIA requests
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Environmental Protection Agency’s handling of public records requests (all times local):
Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson is defending his agency’s handling of records requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
Jackson said in a phone interview Friday his agency has worked its way through a 10-year backlog of records requests left from the Obama administration. He says the agency is now processing current records requests as quickly as it can.
Maryland Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings has asked the House oversight committee to subpoena the EPA over its handling of requests for public records.
Jackson repeated statements that one, broad records request, from the Sierra Club, was “politically charged.” But he denied that the agency sought to slow down its response to such FOIA requests.
The chief of staff at the Environmental Protection Agency says the agency assigns certain “politically charged” records requests for special review.
A transcript of Ryan Jackson’s interview with House Oversight Committee staffers was released Friday. The committee is investigating agency practices under Scott Pruitt, who resigned last week as EPA administrator amid ethical allegations. Jackson testified before Pruitt resigned.
Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings urged the committee to subpoena the EPA over its handling of records requests.
Records requests by environmental groups have produced some of the most damning allegations against Pruitt. Jackson calls one such request, by the Sierra Club, a “fishing expedition.”
Jackson acknowledged directing the agency to respond to another records request, from a pork-industry group.
The EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.