GAO: EPA violated law with Pruitt's soundproof booth

GAO: EPA violated law with Pruitt's soundproof booth

A government watchdog says the Environmental Protection Agency broke federal laws when it spent thousands of dollars on a soundproof phone booth for Administrator Scott Pruitt's office.

"Section 710 prohibits an agency from obligating or expending an amount in excess of $5,000 to furnish, redecorate, purchase furniture for, or make improvements for the office of a presidential appointee during the period of appointment without prior notification to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate", reads the report. Pruitt exceeded the allotment without notifying Congress, the GAO determined, thereby violating the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act and the anti-deficiency act. Because EPA used federal money in a manner specifically prohibited by law, Armstrong said the agency also violated the Antideficiency Act, and is legally obligated to report that violation to Congress. Pruitt gave no such heads-up before spending more than $43,000 on the "soundproof privacy booth".

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

Pruitt, who was Oklahoma Attorney General before taking the EPA job, has been under fire for his spending on travel, security detail and renting a room in a condo owned by a lobbyist's wife for $50 a night.

Trump walks back plan for more sanctions on Russian Federation
Cattler, in turn, was pushed out of his job a couple of weeks later in a reorganization of the NSC by McMaster. Monday's comment from the White House came in contrast to Haley's specific announcement on Sunday.

The panel is asking for interviews with EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson, Chmielewski, Perrotta, the director of scheduling and advance Millan Hupp and Sarah Greenwalt, the senior counsel. "It shouldn't have been done", he said.

"We have responded to Chairman Gowdy's inquiries and we will continue to work with him", EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said by email.

Republican President Donald Trump has said he supports Pruitt, who has carried out his policy goals of slashing regulations on the oil, natural gas and coal industries, but will look into allegations about ethics lapses.

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