Fox News has reported that nearly three-dozen Republican congressmen have accused the EPA of “apparent bias” against conservative groups seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act. Government agencies charge fees for producing the requested documents and these fees can be very substantial, sometimes upwards of $100,000. But the fees can be waived if the agency thinks the information will serve a public purpose. According to Fox:
The allegations were first made by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank. It claimed the EPA was not being fair as it weighed whether to charge fees to groups seeking information via Freedom of Information Act requests.
Its research showed liberal groups have their fees for documents waived about 90 percent of the time, while conservative groups are denied fee waivers about 90 percent of the time.
This is not surprising. While the IRS is staffed by bureaucrats and bureaucrats tend, naturally, to favor the party of big government, the EPA is staffed with ideologues out of the environmental movement. That is a movement that, in the guise of protecting the environment, is virulently anti-commerce and anti-free market. I would guess that at least 90 percent of those who call themselves “environmental activists” voted for Obama.
This is a classic example of “regulatory capture,” where a government regulating agency ends up staffed by people who come out of the thing being regulated. The very first federal regulatory agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission, created in 1887 to regulate the railroad industry, was soon full of railroad men who, after all, had the expertise needed. The ICC quickly evolved into a cartel mechanism that eliminated competition in the industry and guaranteed profits. The result was a long, slow decline of the railroad industry until the 1970s, when the ICC’s rate-setting powers were eliminated.
If there is systemic bias against conservative organizations in both the IRS and the EPA it seems unlikely that it stops there. What other parts of the Obama administration are using the powers of government for illegitimate political purposes?