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Judicial Watch Files FOIA Lawsuit Against EPA Over ‘Clean Water Rule’

By  Hank Berrien

A conservative watchdog group has filed an FOIA lawsuit targeting the EPA for its use of a social media platform to persuade the public to support the Waters of the United States rule, which the Obama Administration championed because it gave the federal government broad powers over streams and other small bodies of water across the nation.

Judicial Watch, which filed the lawsuit asking for all records related to the EPA’s use of the Thunderclap social media platform, noted, “A December 2015 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report concluded the EPA’s use of Thunderclap to send out messages boosting the Waters of the United States rule (also known as the Clean Water Rule) ‘constitutes covert propaganda’ and violates the legal prohibition on propaganda by a federal agency.” Judicial Watch pointed out, “The GAO report found that the EPA reached 1.8 million social media users through Thunderclap, which uses a synchronized social media blast to amplify a message on platforms such as Twitter.”

Judicial Watch added, “The EPA said it sent the message through Thunderclap to clarify what it says was misinformation being spread about the Clean Water Rule. The GAO report, however, said the EPA failed to disclose it was the source of the Thunderclap message.”

Just this week, the Trump administration moved to rescind the rule.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton asserted, “The Obama EPA has a checkered history on transparency and accountability. Judicial Watch wants the details on the Obama EPA’s sketchy effort to secretly peddle propaganda to protect its regulatory power grab.”

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