A top official with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under investigation by Congress for allegedly using a private email address to conduct official government business will step down this week.
Region 8 Administrator James Martin plans to resign on Friday, EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson confirmed to FoxNews.com.
Martin, like former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, is under fire for allegedly using alias emails to communicate with employees and conduct government business. The EPA is reportedly denying that Martin’s resignation is related to the email investigation.
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The EPA, according to Politico.com, downplayed the communication as a one-time occurrence.
But the Republican lawmakers wrote that “it does not appear that this transaction was an isolated incident.”
“Rather, the body of emails suggests that you regularly used this personal email account to stay informed on matters relating to your official duties,” they wrote. Further, they said the issue raises concern that he could be trying to “insulate” himself from formal records requests and “circumvent” federal records law.
Sen. David Ritter (R-La.) announced the resignation via a press release on Tuesday.
“Region 8 administrator Martin is likely resigning this week in part because of the open investigation about his use of a non-official email account to conduct official business,” Vitter said. “Now we know that Lisa Jackson’s acting replacement, Bob Perciasepe, appears to have been doing the same thing to dodge the agency’s mandatory record-keeping policy.”
On Friday, the EPA released the second of four collections of emails from Jackson’s “Richard Windsor” alias email account. The emails did, in fact, show that Perciasepe sent an email to Jackson’s alias account using his personal email account.
Jackson resigned from her post as EPA administrator in December partly due to the Justice Department’s decision to release emails in which Jackson used her alias email account, claims a Washington attorney suing the Obama administration for access to Jackson’s alias emails.
At the time, Jackson said she resigned after four years for “new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference.”
Critics, like Vitter, want more information regarding what appears on the service to be an attempt to avoid the EPA’s record-keeping requirements.
“EPA owes us all some answers about their absolute disregard for transparency, especially from their acting administrator or any potential nominee to be administrator,” Vitter added. “There’s a lot of information in these emails that warrant further investigations, but it is clear that EPA continues to abuse exemptions under FOIA law with significant redactions of information to avoid transparency.”