Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

GAO: Pruitt's Pricey Privacy Booth Violated Federal Law

GAO: Pruitt's Pricey Privacy Booth Violated Federal Law

EPA spokesman Liz Bowman said the agency is addressing the concern raised by the Government Accountability Office "with regard to congressional notification about this expense, and will be sending Congress the necessary information this week".

EPA argued Pruitt's phone booth "serves a functional purpose" by allowing the administrator to carry out agency business and compared it to other office supplies, like high-speed copiers or computers.

"Today's GAO report is the latest proof of the rampant corruption and misconduct at the Environmental Protection Agency under Administrator Pruitt", Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, said in a statement.

Pruitt insisted that the "privacy" booth was necessary for him to "make and receive calls to discuss sensitive information".

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"W$3 e conclude that EPA violated section 710 when it obligated $43,238.68 for the installation of a soundproof privacy booth without providing advance notice to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate", the GAO wrote.

Pruitt, who was Oklahoma Attorney General before taking the EPA job, has been under fire for his spending on travel, security detail and renting a room in a condo owned by a lobbyist's wife for $50 a night. "An illegal privacy booth to conduct secret discussions with his polluter friends does nothing to help our health or environment", said Sen. According to Kevin Chmielewski, a senior EPA official who served as Pruitt's deputy chief of staff until he was put on unpaid administrative leave earlier this year, Pruitt apparently used his director of scheduling as his personal real estate agent, considered spending $100,000 a month on a private jet rental service, and told his staff to "find me something to do" in particular cities and countries that he wanted to visit for reasons apparently unrelated to his work at EPA.

Mr. Pruitt insisted he did not know about the raises or about the way his staffers bypassed White House objections.

The IG said that Monday's report was meant to "provide certain factual information" but "does not present any conclusions or recommendations".

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The US Environmental Protection Agency's construction of a soundroof booth for its administrator Scott Pruitt, a member of President Donald Trump's cabinet, broke the law, a government watchdog agency has determined.

Pruitt has faced growing criticism and angry questioning from Democratic and Republican lawmakers over his spending habits.

In a April 4 meeting with Fox News, " Pruitt asserted he wasn't sure perhaps whoever authorized the raise turned into a career EPA worker or some political appointee.

Pruitt did sign off on the initial decision to hire the three aides, according to included forms.

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The management alert does not discover which EPA staff acquired the raises accredited by Jackson. A second aide ended up with a $114,590 salary after two raises totaling more than $48,000 - a 72.3 percent raise overall.

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