Gov't Accountability Office Says Pruitt's $43000 Phone Booth Was Illegal

Gov't Accountability Office Says Pruitt's $43000 Phone Booth Was Illegal

Gov't Accountability Office Says Pruitt's $43000 Phone Booth Was Illegal

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency violated the law when installing a soundproof booth in his office, according to the top federal auditor.

The Government Accountability Office says the EPA violated the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act by spending more than $5,000 on the phone booth without notifying Congress.

The G.A.O. said it was not taking a position on whether or not the installation of the privacy booth was necessary, but was focusing only on whether the agency violated the Antideficiency Act, which is created to prevent the spending of money that has not been budgeted.

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Pruitt had the booth built, according to the GAO, at the request of his security team so that he had a place to make and take "classified" phone calls and other calls to "discuss sensitive information".

"Because EPA did not comply with the notification requirement, the funds were not legally available at the time EPA incurred the obligation", the GAO wrote in the report. In a letter to GAO, EPA argued the booth was not furnishing the office but merely equipment necessary for Pruitt to do his job.

"I'd be shocked if that many people knew who Scott Pruitt was", Gowdy said on Fox News Sunday. Also being sought is information about the lease for a bedroom in a Capitol Hill condominium that Pruitt rented previous year.

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EPA chief Scott Pruitt's ethics problems keep piling up. "An illegal privacy booth to conduct secret discussions with his polluter friends does nothing to help our health or environment", said Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico, in a statement.

Pruitt's chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, is also on the list to be interviewed, as are two young aides that the administrator brought with him from Oklahoma, where he previously served as attorney general. Donald Trump shouldn't wait to see what ethical norm or law Pruitt breaks next. "EPA must give a full public accounting of this expenditure and explain why the agency thinks it was complying with the law".

Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., sent the letter a day after lawmakers detailed allegations by the EPA's former deputy chief of staff for operations, Kevin Chmielewski, who told congressional staff about wasteful spending, unethical behavior and retribution at the agency for staffers who questioned the activity.

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Candidates are encouraged to attend if they are certified in Oklahoma, certified in another state or now are student teaching. Participants are dedicated to increasing funding and support for public schools, and officials need to listen.

EPA in the past has run up against GAO legal opinions.

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