Scott Pruitt's $43K soundproof phone booth reportedly broke spending laws

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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.

EPA officials said the booth was needed so Pruitt could "make and receive calls to discuss sensitive information ..." Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Reps. In its report, the GAO explicitly said it drew "no conclusions" about whether or not the privacy booth was necessary for secure communications.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is now scrutinizing whether Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is fully complying with public records requests, given the fact that he has multiple government email addresses.

"Between his four email accounts and his $43,000 private phone booth, Pruitt is taking all the appropriate steps to keep lawmakers, journalists and the prying eyes of taxpayers from learning what he's been up to since becoming the head of EPA", Cook said in a statement. The lawmakers had requested the GAO review.

The Associated Press first reported in December that EPA also spent about $9,000 for an outside contractor to sweep Pruitt's office for secret listening devices and installed biometric locks.

Scott PruittGowdy mocks Pruitt's travel spending: Maybe he should become "a monk" instead Democrats promote second annual March for Science: Vote climate change deniers out Holder rips "rampant corruption" in Trump Cabinet MORE's chief of staff was responsible for controversial raises given recently to three aides. "EPA is addressing GAO's concern, with regard to Congressional notification about this expense, and will be sending Congress the necessary information this week".

Kevin Chmielewski, formerly Pruitt's deputy chief of staff for operations, told congressional investigators last week that although Jackson signed off on the raises, Pruitt knew about the entire process.

In a so-called "government watchful", EPA inspector-general Arthur Elkins Jr. explained his team had examined employees records for 6 workers who were hired or had received increases beneath a provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act as Pruitt arrived to the bureau previous year.

In an April 4 interview with Fox News, Pruitt claimed he was not sure perhaps the person who authorized the raise was a livelihood EPA worker or some political appointee.

In an unusual management alert issued Monday, EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins said his staff had reviewed personnel documents for six employees who were hired or had received raises under the Safe Drinking Water Act since Pruitt came to the agency previous year.

"Salaries are based on work history; and, any increases are due to either new and additional responsibilities or promotions", EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in reference to the OIG probe into the hiring and salary raises.

"It is critical that EPA and all federal agencies comply with notification requirements to Congress before spending tax payer dollars", the Wyoming Republican said.

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