by Timothy Cama, the Hill
Congressional auditors say the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broke the law on multiple occasions with “covert propaganda” in support of a controversial regulation that gives the agency power over smaller streams of water.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said a pair of social media campaigns by the EPA in support of its “waters of the United States” rule broke laws that prohibit federal agencies from promoting or lobbying for their own actions.
GAO faulted the EPA for using Thunderclap, a social media amplification tool, to recruit hundreds of Twitter users to tweet in support of the rule.
It also said the EPA broke the law with a blog post that linked to two environmental groups’ pages urging readers to contact members of Congress to oppose legislation.
“We conclude that EPA’s use of Thunderclap constituted covert propaganda, in violation of the publicity or propaganda prohibition,” GAO wrote.
“We also conclude that EPA hyperlinks to the [Natural Resources Defense Council] and Surfrider Foundation webpages provided in the EPA blog post constitute grassroots lobbying, in violation of the grassroots lobbying prohibition.”
The GOP said the EPA also violated the law that prohibits spending government resources that have not been appropriated.
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Source: The Hill