Four top congressional Democratic on Friday called out Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt for failing to report to Congress that the agency’s spending on a $43,000 phone booth without congressional approval violated federal law.
The lawmakers called on Pruitt to report the violation regarding the phone booth expenditure and to report other funds spent to refurnish his office to Congress as soon as possible.
In April, the Government Accountability Office concluded that the EPA violated two separate laws by purchasing and installing a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in Pruitt’s office. The EPA failed to give Congress advance notice of the purchase, and exceeded legally available funds with the purchase, the GAO found.
Upon learning the GAO’s finding that the EPA had violated the Anti-Deficiency Act by overspending, the EPA was required to report that violation to Congress, the lawmakers wrote in the letter. However, the EPA has not reported the violation and has not alerted Congress to other expenditures.
“Several weeks have passed, yet EPA has not transmitted the statutorily-required Antideficiency Act report regarding this violation, nor has the agency fulfilled related notification requirements regarding other expenditures made to furnish or redecorate your office, such as biometric locks and a ‘Captain’s Desk.'” the lawmakers wrote. “We are writing to urge you to immediately comply with the law by providing Congress and the GAO all statutorily-required information to enable our Committees to conduct proper oversight of these expenditures of taxpayer dollars.”
The letter was signed by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), all Democratic leaders on committees that oversee the EPA.
Pruitt has faced intense scrutiny over his spending habits since taking over the helm at the EPA. He has flown on several first class flights, installed biometric locks in his office, and purchased the infamous phone booth.
Read the letter: