A legal opinion by the U.S. Government Accountability Office finds that the Environmental Protection Agency broke the law with its social media and grassroots lobbying campaign advocating for its own ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule. Following the opinion Monday, The American Farm Bureau stated “It’s clear from this report that EPA orchestrated this matter in a biased fashion.” Farm Bureau called on Congress to include a corrective measure in the omnibus spending bill being considered this week. Specifically, the opinion summary posted by the GAO stated that the EPA “violated publicity or propaganda and anti-lobbying provisions contained in appropriations acts with its use of certain social media platforms in association with its ‘Waters of the United States’ rule.”
The opinion says that EPA made the violations through Thunderclap, a social media platform that allows a single message to be shared across several social media outlets at once. EPA engaged in covert propaganda when the agency did not identify EPA’s role as the creator of the Thunderclap message to the target audience.