Friday, January 15, 2016

Viral Sprinter

art is everywhere                                                   

Sprinter Goes Viral

EPA violated federal law - Again

The EPA - Making Their Own Law Since 1970                     

[...] Apparently the EPA was so desperate to move public opinion in favor of its controversial regulation that it hid its identity in order to make it look like these communications were not organized from the top down, but were rather an organic grass roots uprising.

The opinion states further, “EPA constructed a message to be shared by others that refers to the EPA in the third person and advocates support of the Agency’s activities.” These messages apparently reached 1.8 million users.

The EPA certainly knew what it was doing, after all, it was the communications director for the Office of Water that engaged in many of these activities. The EPA’s activities encouraged the public to engage in lobbying activities. As noted by the opinion, “When EPA hyperlinked to the NRDC and Surfrider Foundation webpages using an official communication channel belonging to the EPA and visually encouraged its readers to visit these external websites, EPA associated itself with the messages conveyed by these self-described action groups.”

In general, an attempt by a federal agency to convince the public to engage in lobbying is an activity that is prohibited by law. Thus, the conclusion from the GAO stating, “We conclude that EPA violated the anti-lobbying provisions contained in appropriations acts for FY2015 when it obligated and expended funds in connection with establishing the hyperlinks to the webpages of environmental action groups.” [...]

During the 1991  Keating Five Senate Ethics Committee  hearings, a staff member testified for Sen Alan Cranston, who was excused because he was dying of cancer
The New York Times first reported that in 2014 environmentalists Dan Lashof, David Doniger and David Hawkins—all with roots at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—drafted a “blueprint” that “influenced” the greenhouse gas rules.

That wasn’t the half of it. The emails, obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, show that this trio and other environmentalists essentially wrote the rule.
(he died 9 years later).  There came a moment when she attempted to take the blame for some Cranston legislation, saying that it was she who had inserted "that language" during reconciliation process.  Bob Bennet, the Ethics Committee prosecutor, bemused, asked if it was her practice to write Cranston's legislative language.  She answered, yes, I do it all the time.  There was an audible gasp.  I'm not sure whether it was because the panel were unaware that staff members actually write law;" or because the secret was now public.

Here's my point. If Congressional staffers can change the language in laws during the reconciliation process (where House and Senate versions are blended), consider how easy it is for members of regulatory agencies, like the EPA, to make their own law. 
People can, and do, go to prison for violating the whim of some clerk's fanciful scribble.  My solution?  Do away with all regulatory agencies.  All of them.  Replace them with  legislation that specifically enumerates every single provision.  Then, let the D.O.J. handle violations of WRITTEN LAW.

"But Rodge, that would add millions of rules and provisions to legislation!" 

Do you mean like Obamacare? Yes it would, but it would also stop some GS-5 clerk from  making a pet peeve law that can cost you every thing you own.  It's bad enough that congressional clerks do it, but at least what they do is soldered into place. The EPA must die.