Pruitt's Soundproof Phone Booth Broke Laws, Watchdog Says

Trey Gowdy Scott Pruitt should fly like a ‘monk’ instead of first class

As pressure on EPA chief Scott Pruitt to resign mounts amid his ever-growing list of scandals, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded on Monday that the $43,000 soundproof phone booth Pruitt had installed in his office a year ago at the taxpayer's expense violated federal spending laws. The letter also requests interviews with five EPA officials.

"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. 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.

GAO didn't reach a decision on whether it was actually necessary - just that it should've been reported.

The phone booth itself cost more than $24,000, and was installed in a storage closet inside Pruitt's office, the missive notes. 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.

Pruitt's office said he needed the secure booth to make classified calls.

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

Pruitt is the first EPA administrator to employ an around-the-clock security detail.

Key quotes from Trump's unsettling announcement on Syria strikes
Like the British Tornado, the twin-engine Rafale could be armed with Storm Shadow missiles that can fly for more than 250 miles. The result is what Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described in congressional testimony on Thursday as "contrary impulses".

The law lets the agency hire up to 30 people at a time without regard to rules for civil service employees or political appointees - including the need to get White House approval for raises. 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.

In a combative Fox News interview on April 4, Pruitt insisted he didn't approve the big raises and didn't know who did. Agency lawyers have raised concerns that not all of them are being searched during Freedom of Information Act requests.

Last week, a former deputy chief of staff to Pruitt, spoke to congressional investigators about his concerns with Pruitt's spending. Elkins said the interim alert was issued to notify Pruitt "of certain factual information".

"I found out this yesterday and now I corrected the action and also we are in the practice of finding the way it occurred and correcting it", Pruitt responded, however he didn't say if anybody will be terminated.

"Evading federal records requests by using multiple emails fits Pruitt's pattern of deception and smoke and mirrors to a T", said EWG President Ken Cook.

"It is critical that EPA and all federal agencies comply with notification requirements to Congress before spending tax payer dollars", Senator John Barrasso, a Republican, said in a statement.

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