EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

July 15, 2013

Editorial roundup: On IRS, EPA, e-cigarettes and listening

Other voices, other views: Excerpts from the editorials of other New England newspapers.

The Internal Revenue Service’s harassment of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012 was a sleazy affair, but it was only one of many.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “was making it nearly impossible for groups critical of the agency to obtain any information,” according to a recent Weekly Standard magazine report that said 18 of 20 Freedom of Information Act requests made by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, free-market think tank, were denied while “the vast majority of requests” from environmental groups were approved.

Administration officials use personal email accounts for official business, in violation of the Federal Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

Thomas Perez, head of Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the president’s nominee for Labor secretary, also engaged in this practice. He used his personal account to coordinate a deal that led the city of St. Paul, Minn., to drop its appeal of a housing-discrimination case. Perez has ignored a House committee’s subpoena to turn over business-related emails from the account.

Since this problem is recurrent, the president’s rhetorical emphasis on ethics is a sham. With revelations of improprieties swirling, the news media and Congress should be as tough on him as possible, on the side of the people and America’s best ideals.

-- The Republican American of Waterbury (Conn.), July 12

Electronic cigarettes have the potential to improve public health if adults use them instead of regular tobacco — but not if they end up hooking young people on nicotine. Unfortunately, the ambiguous regulatory status of so-called e-cigarettes makes it possible for manufacturers to run marketing campaigns clearly aimed at young Americans. If federal regulators can’t or won’t make sure these products don’t end up creating more smokers than they cure, states like Massachusetts should.

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