Judge blasts EPA for ‘suspicious’ handling of conservative group’s FOIA

A federal judge Monday blasted the Environmental Protection Agency for its “suspicious” handling of a 2012 Freedom of Information Act request by a conservative group for top officials’ e-mails, saying the agency left “far too much room” for the public to suspect official misconduct.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said that while he would not impose sanctions because the Landmark Legal Foundation had not established that the EPA acted in bad faith, the agency either intentionally sought to evade the FOIA request in order to destroy documents or demonstrated extreme apathy and carelessness.

“Either scenario reflects poorly upon EPA and surely serves to diminish the public’s trust,” wrote Lamberth, former chief judge of the federal court of the District. In a 25-page opinion, Lamberth called the EPA’s recurring disregard of public information disclosure obligations “offensively unapologetic” but “more consistent with ineptitude.” Continue>>>