Holy Cow! The E.P.A.’s Use of Social Media violated Federal Laws

15 December 2015 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

The Government Accountability Office (G.A.O.) ruled that the “Environmental Protection Agency [E.P.A.] engaged in “covert propaganda” and violated federal law when it blitzed social media to urge the public to back an Obama administration rule intended to better protect the nation’s streams and surface waters.”  The New York Times reported that the G.A.O. report was submitted to Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma (Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee) who commented:

G.A.O.’s finding confirms what I have long suspected, that E.P.A. will go to extreme lengths and even violate the law to promote its activist environmental agenda,…E.P.A.’s illegal attempts to manufacture public support for its Waters of the United States rule and sway congressional opinion.

In response the E.P.A. spokeswoman Liz Purchia disputed the G.A.O. report:

We use social media tools just like all organizations to stay connected and inform people across the country about our activities,…

At no point did the E.P.A. encourage the public to contact Congress or any state legislature.

Given the use of Social Media in 2015 this is an interesting circumstance that a federal agency could violate a law by using Social Media.

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