Use of Personal Email – NPS Investigation
On January 10, 2017, the National Park Service released 137 pages of emails from a former Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) senior official’s personal email account that was used for agency business in the GGNRA dog management planning process. The emails were released in response to the Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by Bay Area dog and recreation groups. The emails show extensive behind-the-scenes coordination with a handful of external groups that acted as surrogates to push the Park Service’s dog walking restriction agenda. The Park Service is conducting an internal investigation into the use of this personal email account for agency business.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier is calling on the Department of Interior Inspector General to conduct a full and public inquiry into this high-ranking National Park Service GGNRA employee’s actions, which it appears that he deliberately hid through the use of a personal email address. She is calling on the National Park Service to rescind the GGNRA Dog Management Plan because of this tainted process.
Read the Congresswoman’s full statement here.
GGNRA Official Asks Enviro Collaborators to Only Respond to his Gmail Account
July 2015: Former Senior GGNRA official Howard Levitt uses personal email account to pass information to behind-the-scenes collaborators Amy Meyer (People for the Parks/Presidio), Neal Desai (National Parks Conservation Association), and Becky Evans (Sierra Club Bay Area Chapter).
"Amy, Neal, and Becky:
Here's something I believe you were interested in seeing. More to come. Respond only to this home email address.
GGNRA Official Collaborates with External Anti-Dog Walking Group to Help Pad Administrative Record
Feb. 2016: Amy Meyer (People for the Parks/Presidio) emails GGNRA Senior Official Howard Levitt a pro-restrictions on dog walking letter for the administrative record. Howard Levitt says:
"This is a great letter. Yes, we have to find a way to get these letters into the record."
Senior GGNRA Official Aids External Partners with Advocacy Efforts
Sept. 2015: Senior GGNRA official Howard Levitt uses his personal email account to provide guidance to enviro collaborators on lobbying GGNRA Superindent Christine Lehnertz and Leader Nancy Pelosi. Howard Levitt writes:
"CONFIDENTIAL Dear Amy ( and Neal and Becky, too): Thank you for getting some momentum going on this. Yes, letters addressed to Chris [GGNRA Superintendent Lehnertz] asking her to be firm on protecting park resources and allowing for those who don't want a dog experience would be very useful. Cc to Rep Pelosi would also be good, because she is the one we need to stay away from this issue. Dan Bernal and Robert Edmonson need to be able to report to Nancy that there is a very sizable cohort who do not want Golden Gate to become a dog park."
Senior GGNRA Staff Official Helps Enviros Prepare Congressional Advocacy Materials
July 2015: Howard Levitt, former Director of Communications and Partnerships at GGNRA, uses his personal email account to help Amy Meyer (People for the Parks/Presidio), Neal Desai (National Parks Conservation Association), and Becky Evans (Sierra Club Bay Area Chapter) prepare materials for their meeting with Leader Nancy Pelosi's staff member Dan Bernal.
Senior GGNRA Staff Official Preps Anti-Dog Walking Collaborators for PBS NewsHour Interviews
Sept. 2015: Howard Levitt of the GGNRA uses his personal email account to provide Amy Meyer (People for the Parks/Presidio) and Cindy Margulis (Golden Gate Audubon) with guidance for their PBS NewsHour interviews.