TheBlaze's Jason Howerton contributed to this report.
With the continued Benghazi investigation, IRS political targeting and DOJ press surveillance, could a scandal at the EPA be the next shoe to droop for the Obama administration?
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) been closely following the EPA’s misuse of private communication to conduct public business, and fees the agency has placed on conservative groups seeking information that they usual waive for media and watchdog groups. After successfully gaining access to former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson’s emails, CEI is now suing to gain access to the text messages of Gina McCarthy, the senior EPA official the President has nominated to now run the agency.
CEI's Chris Horner joined "Wilkow" Thursday to discuss his organization's request to access text messages sent by Jackson and McCarthy, and what they're looking for.
"Where are these text messages? Are they really engaging in serial, coordinated, systematic document destruction in violation of criminal law?" he asked. "Because I have an affidavit in one of my lawsuits from NASA admitting that they are. OK, so this is not far-fetched, this is rather near-fetched."
Horner noted that McCarthy is being promoted to an "enormous budget" and "enormous responsibility" and there are questions that need to be answered.
He went on: "The bigger issue the EPA is going to have to answer is: Are you just in contempt of Congress and violating the law by refusing to turn things over? Or are you really serially and systematically destroying records?"
"If so, these consequences have to go beyond people resigning to end the issue -- we have to have real consequences because these are not their records, they're ours," Horner concluded.
CEI filed suit in federal court on Wednesday to compel the EPA to turn over McCarthy's text messages sent after the EPA reportedly warned her that the text messages she was sending about members of Congress during hearings posed great risk to get and the agency.
"EPA must produce these records under the Freedom of Information Act and, in the process, admit one of two scenarios: Either EPA has maintained text messages as required by law but has chosen repeatedly to withhold them in the face of FOIA and congressional oversight requests for 'all records' or 'all electronic records,' or EPA has destroyed the texts, with possible criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. § 2071 (Concealment, removal, or mutilation of federal records)," CEI announced in a press release.
This story has been updated.