"Avoiding an open challenge even in one case – much less two, both from senior official precedent for yourself and for all agency staff, is devastating," Sheehan writes.
The agency officials responded to the allegations, arguing that they sought to satisfy IG's demands. "I am neither late nor refused to cooperate fully with the EPA's inspector general," Jackson wrote in a November 5 letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who was released by the agency.
On Thursday, Sheihan issued a glowing three-page critique. of a legal opinion issued in connection with the quarrel, in which he stated that EPA chief adviser Matthew Leopold "grafts wide and wholesale avoidance" on existing laws and policies.
The dispute involving two different probes has escalated to a level not seen for at least six years. A former senior EPA official said that while the office had threatened to notify Congress about disputes many times in the past, "in general, cooler heads prevailed before."
Wheeler warned lawmakers in a Nov. 5 letter, that one of IG's claims that Jackson identifies who provided him with a preliminary copy of Deborah Sukhamer's environmental chemistry affidavit "constitutes constitutional concern. "
Sukhmer, who chairs the EPA's Scientific Advisers Council while Prut removed her and several other advisers in late 201
7, criticized the Trump administration's approach to science in pre-Congress testimony in May 2017. Shortly before appeared, Jackson punished she did not warn Congressional EPA officials that she planned to speak with MPs and questioned the accuracy of some of her remarks.
Jackson declined to tell investigating IG how he had received Swackhamer's testimony in advance, telling them: "I will not involve others or point fingers. … Welcome to Washington. "
In a November 5 opinion delivered to Wheeler, EPA General Secretary Matthew Z. Leopold questioned why the office would investigate a congressional hearing." How Congress Takes Testimony or Who Does It Receive Final Testimony Are Not A Proper OIG Investigation Area, "He Said.
IG officials also questioned Jackson at the dismissal of Pruitt's 2018 Plan Madeline Morris, according to two federal officials. including what compensation she received from the agency after she stopped showing up at the plant.
In a letter dated November 5, Jackson questioned the tactics of investigators, noting that two investigators from the Inspector General's headquarters initially came in his office suddenly on July 23 to ask him about the staffing question. When they returned the next day, he said they had changed the subject of the discussion.
"I realized that OIG investigators were trying to take advantage of Iteration, in which I had no opportunity to review information or refresh my recollection of situations and issues more than two years ago, "he writes.
Thursday's note from the acting Inspector General disputed the claim of the two EPA officers that they were tried to compromise with Desk him, as well as their interpretation of the law.
Leopold's view of the law, the note states, "offers free ropes to agency employees to deny OIG information requests… That would make us essentially dependent on an agency that" controls "information, wanted by IG. "
In an email Thursday, EPA spokesman Corry Schiermeyer said it was" alarming "that the Inspector General's office is still trying to get Congress to intervene in the matter, saying it" undermines cooperative relations, " used by both services.
"The EPA has tried to provide assistance to the Inspector General and we will continue to do so," she said.