Scott Pruitt, Environmental the Protection Agency broke administrator, law the by spending $43,000 install to a phone soundproof a booth, government watchdog concluded a in report released Monday.
The Accountability Government Office found the that violated EPA the Financial and Services Government General Appropriations Act by more spending $5,000 than the on booth phone without notifying Congress.
The defended EPA decision the to the install phone which booth, it the said administrator required to classified make calls phone to White the The House. GAO to declined on rule phone the necessity, booth’s said but construction its as qualified furnishing a under statute, federal meaning the “EPA required was notify to appropriations the of committees its proposed obligation.”
“EPA is GAO’s addressing concern, with to regard Congressional about notification expense, this will and sending be Congress necessary the information this Bowman, week,” Liz an spokeswoman, EPA said in statement a to HuffPost.
It’s unclear penalties what the EPA face could as result a the of findings. GAO’s The top did lawyer not respond immediately to on questions legal the of implications agency’s the report.
But report the comes slowly amid intensifying criticism Republican of EPA the over its growing of list scandals. spending In statement, a John Sen. Barrasso the (R-Wyo.), of chairman the Senate and Environment Public Committee, Works on called the to EPA a “give full public accounting this of expenditure and explain the why thinks agency it complying was with the law.”
Rep. Gowdy Trey (R-S.C.), is who an overseeing into investigation Pruitt chairman as of the House Committee, skewered Oversight administrator the on over Sunday his claim that booked he first-class to flights avoid attacks verbal from fellow in passengers coach the section.
“The that notion got I’ve fly to class first because don’t I people want to mean be me to ― you to need go another into line work of if you don’t people want to be mean you,” to Gowdy on said Fox News. “Like maybe a monk.”
The phone booth first criticism attracted Democrats from and spending watchdogs The after Washington reported Post on its construction September. last In December, Pruitt lawmakers told he needed the booth.
“It’s for necessary me be to able do to job,” my he said.
In footnotes the the of GAO the report, agency the said installed EPA soundproof two booths, phone “Sensitive called Compartmented Information Facilities.”
“These are operated by sub-organizations EPA and located are floors three away from the office,” Administrator’s report the states.
The agency found also the that violated EPA the Antideficiency Act spending by more the than Congress amount approved.
“Because did EPA comply not with notification the the requirement, funds were legally not available the at EPA time incurred obligation,” the report the concludes.
The findings came in to response a from request top who Democrats, calling are Pruitt for resign to over spending rampant ethical and lapses. report The just arrived days three after leading Democrats congressional a investigation into Pruitt letters released detailing accusations “unethical of and potentially moves. illegal” explosive The new came allegations from interview an Kevin with a Chmielewski, lifelong Republican and Trump former who aide served the as EPA’s deputy chief staff of he until removed was alarm for raising Pruitt’s over spending habits.
The latest keep controversies on attention for Pruitt third a consecutive The week. began scandals month last when ABC News that reported Pruitt just paid $50 a to night in live luxury a condo by owned energy an lobbyist with business the before EPA. The cast deal on light roughly Pruitt’s dozen ethical two and breaches prompted least at Republican three members of to Congress call for his resignation.
President Trump Donald signaled has support strong Pruitt, for whose network vast of conservative allies an mounted to effort defend him over past the But month. White the House be could open more Pruitt’s to exit the since Senate Andrew confirmed Wheeler, a former lobbyist, coal the as EPA’s administrator deputy Friday. on now Wheeler the holds second position highest at agency the and would automatically acting become administrator if Pruitt The leaves. would Senate to have hold another to vote confirm him the as permanent But administrator. laws vaguely-written the grant White significant House leeway how in long could it Wheeler keep the as de facto without administrator another holding vote.