Federal Watchdog Says Scott Pruitt's $43000 Phone Booth Violated the Law

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The Government Accountability Office said the EPA violated the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act with Pruitt's privacy booth.

In a so-called "government watchful", EPA inspector-general Arthur Elkins Jr. mentioned his staff had reviewed employees documents for 6 workers that had hired or had received raises underneath a provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act as Pruitt arrived to the agency last calendar year.

The EPA was required to tell Congress before it purchased the phone booth, exceeding the $5,000 limit on decorating and furnishing Pruitt's office, but didn't.

At least four members of Congress, including Senator Tom Udall (D, New Mexico), accused Pruitt of blatantly abusing his position to enjoy unnecessary perks at his office.

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"EPA is addressing GAO's concern, with regard to congressional notification about this expense, and will be sending Congress the necessary information this week", Bowman said. But his chief of staff appears to have signed the forms "for Scott Pruitt", suggesting that he was acting with explicit or implicit permission.

According to EPA, the privacy booth "not only enables the Administrator to make and receive phone calls to discuss sensitive information, but it also enables him to use this area to make and receive classified telephone calls (up to the top secret level) for the objective of conducting agency business".

"An illegal privacy booth to conduct secret discussions with his polluter friends does nothing to help our health or environment", Udall said. Scheduling director Millian Hupp, 26, saw her salary jump to $114,590, with raises totaling more than $48,000.

Pruitt and the ones around him are below multiple analyses found by authorities watchdogs and congressional committees.

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.

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The names of the employees at issue were blacked out from the documents released to the public, though the hire dates and raises awarded to two of the redacted employees exactly matched information for Greenwalt and Hupp.

The auditors said EPA clearly spent in excess of $5,000 and the space in question was certainly a part of Pruitt's office.

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

GAO disagreed, saying even by that logic, EPA should have notified Congress. EPA officials said Congress was intending to restrict only an "aesthetic improvement" to appointees' offices, but GAO said they were selectively reading the statute.

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the Republican chairman of Senate committee that oversees the EPA, said in a statement Monday that the agency owes lawmakers an explanation.

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While Pruitt denies any knowledge of the raises, Elkins continues his investigation, and he hasn't reached his final conclusion. "Like maybe a monk, where you don't come in contact with anyone".