Government Watchdog Says EPA Broke Law With Pruitt Phone Booth


Last week, a group of House and Senate Democrats published a detailed list of allegations suggesting mismanagement and lavish spending by Pruitt and his office.

Pruitt's office did not notify Congress about the excessive spending, the GAO contends, in violation of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act.

Armstrong also said his decision was not a ruling on whether the EPA and Pruitt should have installed the phone booth to begin with.

The EPA claimed that the soundproof booth - like that used by bumbling spy Maxwell Smart from the 60's sitcom and 2008 flick "Get Smart" starring Steve Carrell - was not part of the redecoration of Pruitt's office so the $5,000 cap didn't apply. It is among several unusual security precautions taken by Pruitt that are now under scrutiny, like his use frequent use of first-class flights to avoid unpleasant interactions with other travelers.

He spent almost $6,000 buying specialized locks requiring fingerprints to open a door, the Associated Press reported previous year.

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The EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"An illegal privacy booth to conduct secret discussions with his polluter friends does nothing to help our health or environment", Udall said Monday.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt's ethics problems keep piling up.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement that Pruitt uses three email accounts, while a fourth one created for him was only tested a few times before becoming inactive.

The ones around him and Pruitt are below investigations found committees and by authorities watchdogs.

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"It should not have been done", Pruitt said in the interview that aired April 4. One of the employees secured two successive raises amounting to a 67.6 percent increase, worth $66,244, raising the salary to $164,200. Scheduling director Millian Hupp, 26, watched her wages jump to £114,590, with increases totaling greater than £48,000 - only a 72.3 percentage out of her authentic damages.

"I would be shocked if that many people knew who Scott Pruitt was".

The inspector general said some hiring documents were signed by Pruitt himself, while Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson signed off on forms approving big raises, adding the words "for Scott Pruitt" to his signature. Agency lawyers have raised concerns that not all of them are being searched during Freedom of Information Act requests.

The inspector general's audit into the raises is continuing, but Elkins' letter said the interim alert was issued to notify Pruitt "of certain factual information".

"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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The agency reports it spent over $24,000 for the booth itself and over $18,000 in "space reconfiguration costs", and explained it did not give prior notice to members of Congress because the booth "does not constitute an aesthetic improvement". "Like maybe a monk, where you don't come in contact with anyone".