Gov't Accountability Office Says Pruitt's $43000 Phone Booth Was Illegal

US government watchdogs slam Trump Cabinet on spending

Rep. Trey Gowdy, who is now investigating Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, had some harsh words for Pruitt's controversial travel habits.

A 2017 spending bill capped at $5,000 expenditures to "furnish, redecorate, purchase furniture for, or make improvements for the office of a presidential appointee".

"We draw no conclusions regarding whether the installation of the privacy booth was the only, or the best, way for EPA to provide a secure telephone line for the administrator", GAO said.

"EPA is addressing GAO's concern, with regard to Congressional notification about this expense, and will be sending Congress the necessary information this week", Liz Bowman, an EPA spokeswoman, said in a statement to HuffPost.

EPA representatives said they were cooperating with the request.


Gowdy's letter was sent one day after lawmakers heard details from the EPA's former deputy chief of staff for operations, Kevin Chmielewski, who said those who questioned Pruitt's unethical behavior were retaliated against.

But on Monday Barrasso said in a statement after the GAO's decision that Pruitt's agency must give a "full public accounting" on the spending on the booth and explain why the agency thinks it was complying with the law. The privacy booth is among several unusual security precautions taken by Pruitt that are now under scrutiny.

The former Oklahoma Attorney General has been slammed for allegedly giving aides raises after the White House told him not to, for renting a bedroom in a Capitol Hill apartment owned by the wife of a top energy lobbyist, and for spending more than $100,000 on luxury air travel.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who is overseeing an investigation into Pruitt as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, skewered the administrator on Sunday over his claim that he booked first-class flights to avoid verbal attacks from fellow passengers in the coach section.

Speaking of 2016: Administrator Pruitt would appear to be exactly the kind of person Trump campaigned on ridding Washington of.

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