Lisa Jackson, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, told an audience at Princeton University that politics are to blame for the uproar over her “Richard Windsor” alias email account, but she wishes she had chosen a less obscure name for the account.
Jacob Reces, former head of Princeton’s College Republicans, asked Jackson during a talk on Tuesday if she regretted using the alternate email account, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
Using two email accounts for work isn’t a new practice, and was also done under President Bush, Jackson said. The inbox of her public account was flooded with emails, and the Windsor account was a way to work around that. Her staff advised her to use the obscure name for her alternate account, she said.
“I wish that I stuck with my initial inclination and just left it admjackson, although I’m sure somebody would have said that was too obscure as well,” she said.
The problem isn’t the use of a secondary address, but that Jackson created a false identity account to conduct official business, said Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which filed the lawsuit that led to the release of the Richard Windsor emails.
“There is no precedent for this and her implying that anyone else ever did it, or that [former administrator] Steve Johnson’s additional account, derived from one of his children’s name, for occasional family correspondence as regulations do permit as necessitated, is either breathtakingly ignorant or shamefully deceitful,” said Horner.
Jackson suggested real problem wasn’t her use of an alias account, but Beltway politics. People take facts out of context for political purposes, she said, and “the difference between fact and abstraction of motive is the most base form of politics today.”
Jackson resigned in December, shortly after media reports that the EPA Inspector General was investigating whether her use of the private email account for work business violated transparency laws. The EPA was ordered in federal court to release the emails, which is has done in several batches since January, heavily redacted.