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

17 April 2018
Gov't Accountability Office Says Pruitt's $43000 Phone Booth Was Illegal

The Senate has confirmed a former coal industry lobbyist to be the second-highest official at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Gowdy said he has become concerned about whether Pruitt's explanations for his spending as EPA administrator are credible.

The Senate confirmed Wheeler 53-45.

Several lawmakers have called for Pruitt to resign or be fired, including three Republicans.

Separately Monday, EPA's inspector general released a "management alert" that detailed how Pruitt's chief of staff Ryan Jackson had used a provision in the Safe Drinking Water Act to quickly bring on multiple political appointees and later boost their salaries. His request was denied.

In its explanation to the GAO included in the report, the EPA equated the booth to other necessary office supplies and argued it was needed to "support specific mission requirements" and allow Pruitt to carry out agency business "without concern that classified, deliberative, privileged, or sensitive information might inadvertently be disclosed to those who are not meant to receive such information".

Two Democratic senators revealed last week that the EPA has four addresses for Pruitt.

On numerous occasions, Pruitt has been approached at airports "to the point of profanities being yelled at him and so forth", Henry Barnet, director of the agency's Office of Criminal Enforcement, told Politico in February.

They also inquired about a lease for a bedroom in a Capitol Hill condominium that Pruitt rented in 2017. Pruitt's chief of security spent an extra $30,000 to hire Italian security guards to supplement his already sizable EPA entourage.

Republicans also criticized Pruitt after the latest round of ethical violations.

While the agency did turn over documents last month detailing almost $68,000 in previously undisclosed travel costs for Pruitt during the seven months leading up to February, Gowdy said EPA officials have failed to produce the security waivers that Pruitt used to justify his purchase of premium tickets at taxpayer expense. They included stays in boutique hotels that exceeded spending caps, frequent trips home to Oklahoma that Pruitt charged to taxpayers and an insistence on flying Delta whenever possible, even when it cost more, in an effort to maximize his frequent-flier miles.

Elkins said that Pruitt signed some papers.

"I would be shocked if that many people knew who Scott Pruitt was". Chmielewski said Pruitt also used his authority to increase the salary of his senior legal counsel, 30-year-old Sarah Greenwalt, by almost $57,000, to $164,200 a year. Pressed by the interviewer on whether Hupp and Greenwalt were friends of his, Pruitt replied, "Well, they serve a very important person".