By Erica Martinson | POLITICO
Critics of the Obama administration have gotten a lot of mileage by claiming ideological bias at the Environmental Protection Agency. But a POLITICO analysis of the evidence shows holes in their case.
At the heart of the debate are the fees EPA charges when people or groups request documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The critics allege a shocking disparity: EPA waives fees for liberal groups more than 90 percent of time, they say, while rejecting more than 70 to 90 percent of waiver requests from conservative groups.
News outlets such as Fox News have amplified that claim, painting EPA as a rogue agency akin to the Internal Revenue Service, as have Republican lawmakers like Louisiana Sen. David Vitter and California Rep. Darrell Issa. Twelve states’ attorneys general also cited the statistic last week in a lawsuit they filed over EPA’s denial of a FOIA request. The numbers, which originated from a brief analysis this spring by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, have been repeated enough now to take on the status of accepted fact on the right.