Senators ask DOJ to investigate EPA's use of social media to promote Clean Water Rule

Request stems from a GAO finding that EPA violated lobbying rules in their use of a social media tool.

Jan. 21, 2016 -- Two Senate Republicans asked the Justice Department today to investigate whether U.S. EPA knowingly broke the law in promoting the Obama administration's Clean Water Rule.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (Okla.) and Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) formally requested the investigation in light of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) finding that EPA violated lobbying rules in their use of a social media tool called Thunderclap in publicizing the rule. GAO found in December that EPA's use of Thunderclap constituted "covert propaganda."

See RELATED:
CLAIM: EPA used propaganda in promoting WOTUS Rule

The Clean Water Act rule, which defines which streams and wetlands receive automatic federal protection, is currently stayed nationwide pending a federal appeals court ruling on jurisdiction. EPA developed the rulemaking with the Army Corps of Engineers.

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