EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt violated federal law by building a soundproof $43,000 phone booth in his office and not telling lawmakers about it, ABC News reported Monday citing a federal watchdog report.
According to the the federal Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, the EPA should have notified Congress for expenditures over $5,000, the Government Accountability Office said in a review of the issue.
The report has yet to be released publicly, but ABC reported on its contents late Monday morning.
The EPA “was required to notify the appropriations committees of its proposed obligation,” the government watchdog said as quoted by ABC. “By failing to provide such advance notice, EPA violated section 710” of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act.
The EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Mr. Pruitt’s critics pounced on the news.
“Scott Pruitt has turned the agency charged with protecting the environment and public health into an oasis for polluters and industry lobbyists. Of the 11 ongoing investigations into Pruitt’s unethical dealings and waste of taxpayer dollars, one has already found that Pruitt broke the law by refusing to notify Congress of his excessive spending on a private phone booth,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president with the League of Conservation Voters. “Every member of Congress should join the more than 100 members from both parties who are calling on Pruitt to go.”
Mr. Pruitt also is facing a host of investigations related to his living accommodations, expensive security detail, and whether he knew of raises given to two top aides without the White House’s permission.
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