Pruitt's $43,000 soundproof booth that was just part of his plan to fortify EPA office far exceeded the maximum $5,000 expense without approval from Congress says government auditor

Mail Online | 4/9/2018 | Reuters;Geoff Earle, Deputy U.s. Political Editor For Dailymail.com
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The Environmental Protection Agency violated the law when it approved a $43,000 soundproof phone booth last year for the office of embattled Administrator Scott Pruitt, a congressional watchdog unit said on Monday.

The Government Accountability Office said the EPA violated the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. The law prohibits an agency from obligating more than $5,000 in federal funds to furnish, redecorate or make improvements in the office of a presidential appointee without first notifying appropriations committees in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

EPA - Antideficiency - Act - Agencies - Expenses

The EPA also violated the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits federal agencies from incurring expenses in excess of funds available in appropriations, the GAO said.

Liz Bowman, an EPA spokeswoman, said the agency was "addressing GAO's concern, with regard to Congressional notification about this expense, and will be sending Congress the necessary information this week."

Privacy - Booth - Pruitt - Lawmakers - Hearing

The privacy booth, which Pruitt had told lawmakers in a hearing was needed to conduct agency business, was built in a spot of a former storage closet in the administrator's office.

The GAO had been asked to investigate the matter by Democratic lawmakers including U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Tom Udall.

Senator - John - Barrasso - Republican - Head

Senator John Barrasso, a Republican and the head of the Senate environment committee, earlier this month had rejected a request by Carper and others for a hearing looking into allegations that Pruitt had spent wastefully.

But Barrasso said in a statement after the GAO's decision that Pruitt's agency must give a "full public accounting" on the spending on the booth and explain why the agency thinks it was complying with the law.

Pruitt - Fire - Republican - Lawmakers - Travel

Pruitt has been under fire from Republican and Democratic lawmakers for expensive travel and other expenses. Last week, Democratic lawmakers asked him to provide documents about ethics issues they said were revealed to them by a former agency official, including spending on bulletproof vests,...
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