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It pays to know people in charge, especially if they are federal regulators. Emails suggest that an Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator used a private AOL email account to correspond with environmentalists.

Such email use is prohibited by agency rules and is seen as a way to skirt transparency requirements.

Emails show that EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck gave advice to environmental activists, including securing government funding, getting meetings with high-level officials and attending events.