Watchdogs want CEQ director’s personal emails

By Robin Bravender | 10/27/2016 01:26 PM EDT

A government watchdog group is seeking personal emails from the head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality after recently hacked emails indicate she may have used her personal account to conduct government business.

The nonprofit Cause of Action Institute sent a Freedom of Information Act request today to CEQ, asking for all emails sent by Managing Director Christy Goldfuss to outside groups and individuals that pertain to national monuments designations.

In the trove of recently released emails allegedly hacked from Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s personal account was an August 2015 email from Goldfuss to Podesta.


"I may have an oceans monument question for you soon. We’re looking at the NE, and it’s messy. Hope all is well!," she wrote from her personal email account. Goldfuss had previously worked at the Center for American Progress, the think tank founded by Podesta.

"By using her personal email account to conduct government business, Goldfuss may have violated the Federal Records Act, if she failed to forward those emails to her official government email account so that they can be appropriately archived and searched," Cause of Action said today in a news release.

"The broad use of the Antiquities Act under the Obama administration has raised concerns about the opaque process and lack of consultation with local stakeholders leading up to the president’s designation of new national monuments. If verified, these emails raise additional transparency concerns and the specter of collusion."

In September, the Obama administration created the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument — the first national monument in the Atlantic Ocean (E&E Daily, Sept. 15).

A CEQ spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Podesta and the Clinton campaign haven’t verified on the authenticity of the hacked emails, and the campaign and the Obama administration have accused the Russian government of orchestrating their release by the group WikiLeaks.