When Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen Johnson came to Denver two and half weeks ago, how did he spend his time? At a Republican fundraiser featuring representatives of the very industries his agency regulates, including El Paso Natural Gas, theColorado Mining Association, and the Colorado Petroleum Association, reports the Denver Post.
Johnson attended a fundraiser for 7th Congressional District candidate Rick O'Donnell. EPA says it was all ok because Johnson attended the event on his "own time." But that's not what local watchdogs say.
It's a "classic formula for the appearance of conflict and bad policies," said Pete Maysmith of Colorado Common Cause.
Johnson got caught in the act when an invitation to the event surfaced that referred to Johnson by his official title--a no no under federal law. Because the email was not approved personally by Johnson or the EPA he probably may have a legal out. The state Democratic Party filed a federal complaint.
Technically legal or not, this incident shows how cozy the mining, oil and gas, and other regulated industries are to the agency that is supposed to protect the environment.