Sullivan Reacts to EPA’s Illegal Use of Lobbying and Propaganda to Promote WOTUS Rule

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) released the following statement today regarding the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) legal decision that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broke laws when it pushed for public support for the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Rule in 2014 and 2015. Specifically, the GAO’s report said that the EPA had unlawfully used taxpayer dollars to use social media for lobbying and propaganda purposes. 

“The EPA consistently earns it’s moniker as a ‘rogue agency,’ with its persistent disregard for the rule of law,” said Senator Sullivan. “The agency’s Waters of the U.S. Rule – which would give the agency vast new authority over our lands and waters – is a prime example. As we learned today, not only is the substance of the rule an overreach, but the EPA also broke laws in the way that it tried to sell the rule to Congress and the public. Once again, the EPA’s demonstrated that it will go to any lengths to push its extreme environmental agenda.”

Read today’s New York Times story on the report here. Here are some quotes from the GAO’s report:

  • “As explained below, we conclude that EPA’s use of Thunderclap constitutes covert propaganda, in violation of the publicity or propaganda prohibition.”
  • “We conclude that EPA violated the anti-lobbying provisions contained in appropriations acts for FY 2015 when it obligated and expended funds in connection with establishing the hyperlinks to the webpages of environmental action groups.”
  • “Because EPA obligated and expended appropriated funds in violation of specific prohibitions, we also conclude that EPA violated the Antideficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. 1341(a)(1)(A), as the agency’s appropriations were not available for these prohibited purposes.”


On May 22, 2015, Senators Dan Sullivan and Mike Rounds (R-SD) joined Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) in sending a letter to EPA requesting documents and information about EPA’s use of social media.