Monday, December 14, 2015
E.P.A. Broke the Law by Using Social Media toPush Water Rule, Auditor Finds
WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency engaged in “covert propaganda” in violation of federal law when it blitzed social media to urge the general public to support President Obama’s controversial rule intended to better protect the nation’s streams and surface waters, congressional auditors have concluded.
The ruling by the Government Accountability Office, which opened its investigation after a report in The New York Times on the agency’s practices, served as a cautionary tale to federal agencies about the perils of getting too active in using social media to push a cause. Federal laws prohibit agencies from engaging in lobbying and propaganda.
It also emerged as Republican leaders moved to block the so-called Waters of the United States clean-water rule through an amendment to the enormous spending bill expected to pass in Congress this week.