Scott Pruitt's $43000 'privacy booth' violated spending laws, watchdog finds

Mayors EPA move to roll back vehicle emissions standards threatens Utahns’ health air quality improvements

Mayors EPA move to roll back vehicle emissions standards threatens Utahns’ health air quality improvements

"EPA violated section 710 of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017 when it failed to notify the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and Senate prior to obligating in excess of $5,000 to install a soundproof privacy booth for the office of the Administrator during his period of appointment".

In an eight-page decision, the congressional watchdog concluded that EPA breached appropriations law - specifically the governmentwide $5,000 spending cap on office redecoration for political appointees - by not giving advance notice to Congress' appropriations committees.

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.

Read the GAO report here. Thus, the booth was a practical addition to the administrator's office and did not violate the specific appropriations law provision since it was not "an aesthetic improvement" contemplated by that measure, according to the agency. It is among several unusual security precautions taken by Pruitt that are now under scrutiny, like his use frequent use of first-class flights to avoid unpleasant interactions with other travelers.

Gowdy gave an April 27 deadline for response from EPA.

On Wednesday, the Republican oversight chairman had written to push for more answers from Pruitt about his first-class travels, and to say the committee plans to evaluate the $50-a-night rental the EPA head had with a lobbyist. In it, the lawmakers recounted alleged spending abuses by the EPA chief that Chmielewski had shared with them.


EPA chief Scott Pruitt's ethics problems keep piling up.

Trey Gowdy on Sunday said embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt should go into another line of work if he "didn't want people to be mean" to him. Tom Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico, in a statement.

Republicans also criticized Pruitt after the latest round of ethical violations.

Gowdy's committee is investigating Pruitt's spending and is seeking interviews with five of his top aides.

"It is critical that EPA and all federal agencies comply with notification requirements to Congress before spending taxpayer dollars". Trump's EPA ended up violating two laws in the process, according to a new report by the US Government Accountability Office that was obtained by BuzzFeed News.

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