House oversight committee expands probe into EPA's Pruitt

Postado Abril 16, 2018

"Today's GAO report is the latest proof of the rampant corruption and misconduct at the Environmental Protection Agency under Administrator Pruitt", Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, said in a statement. "By failing to provide such advance notice, EPA violated section 710" of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act.

Last month, Pruitt was scrutinized after travel documents released showed the EPA spent close to $90,000 to send him and his staff to Italy for one day for the G7 environmental summit.

Pruitt told a congressional committee he needed the booth to make secure calls to the White House and discuss classified information, but he was unable to tell the lawmakers how often he would use it.

The agency also found that the EPA violated the Antideficiency Act by spending more than the amount approved by Congress for office renovations.

"Because EPA did not comply with the notification requirement, the funds were not legally available at the time EPA incurred the obligation", the GAO wrote in the report.

Previously, the EPA had admitted the phone booth cost $25,000 but according to the Washington Post, that number did not include the full cost of installation, which also included a whopping $18,000 bill for prep work to prepare the space for the secure booth, bringing the cost up to $43,000. Trump's EPA ended up violating two laws in the process, according to a new report by the US Government Accountability Office that was obtained by BuzzFeed News.

"This is old news", EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told WaPo in an email Tuesday when asked about the expense.

The EPA internal watchdog put its inquiry on hold while the GAO investigated.