$43000 soundproof booth for EPA chief Pruitt violated law -US GAO

17 April, 2018, 10:40 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed

Section 710 of a 2017 government appropriations act prohibits spending more than US$5,000 to furnish, redecorate or make improvements to an office of a presidential appointee without prior notification to Congress.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said the agency "will be sending Congress the necessary information this week".

EPA also told the GAO the 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 goal of conducting agency business". 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.

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

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

"Scott Pruitt likes to talk about returning the EPA to the rule of law, but it turns out he's better at breaking it than following it". The inspector general released employment forms that appear to show that Mr. Pruitt's chief of staff signed off on two controversial salary hikes that went to favored staffers whom the administrator had brought with him from Oklahoma.

Pruitt and those around him are under multiple investigations launched by government watchdogs and congressional committees.

USA government watchdogs rapped two members of President Donald Trump's Cabinet on Monday over their spending a year ago, adding pressure on an administration already roiled by ethics complaints.

"Salaries are based on work history; and, any increases are due to either new and additional responsibilities or promotions", EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in reference to the OIG probe into the hiring and salary raises.

The White House previously had refused the raises for Greenwalt and Hupp, and The Atlantic reported that the Safe Drinking Water Act was used to maneuver around that decision.

Milos Forman, Oscar-Winning Director of Amadeus, Dies at 86
His first feature film came in 1964 with " Black Peter ", which established him as part of the rising New Wave Movement in Czech. Larry Flynt ) and comedian Andy Kaufman ( Man on the Moon ). "A filmmaker, artist, and champion of artists' rights".

GAO's conclusions, outlined in a letter to congressional Democrats, relate to the legality of the purchase and not whether the booth was an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.

Pruitt - who has also come under fire for expensive travel and a sweetheart deal on a room in a DC condo he rented from a business lobbyist until he was tossed out - claimed that the private phone booth was a necessity.

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.

The chief of staff for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt authorized salary increases for at least three employees - one of which was worth 72 percent, the agency's watchdog revealed Monday.

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.

Pruitt's EPA has argued that the booth should not be considered an office redecoration or renovation and thus should not be subject to the $5,000 limit.

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

Other Republicans have been more forceful in criticizing Pruitt.

Pruitt said in an interview with Fox News this month that he had no knowledge of the raises.



Rahul Gandhi weighs in on Asifa case
Senior Congress leaders such as Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee President Bhupesh Baghel, Leader of Opposition, T.S. Recently, the 16-year-old's father died in the police custody after being brutally beaten by the MLA's brother.

Netflix blows by estimates, adds 7.4M subscribers in Q1
Its impressive quarter came just three months after it raised prices for subscribers in the USA , its largest market. The business had revenue of $3.29 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.28 billion.

West hesitates on Syria response as Russian Federation warns of 'war'
Mr Nebenzia also called for the UN Security Council to meet again on Friday to discuss the possibility of Western military action. The US and France said they had proof it took place and, alongside the United Kingdom , were considering military retaliation.

Netanyahu Supports Attacks by US, UK , and France on Syrian Targeted Sites
The U.S. notified Israel on Friday before it carried out missile strikes on Syrian targets, an Israeli official told Reuters . This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very bad regime".

Liverpool vs Bournemouth, Premier League
Mohamed Salah will be desperate to tighten his grip on the Golden Boot today as he starts in attack along with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino .

Benjamin Mendy: France defender returns for Man City after knee injury
Manchester United will look to tighten their grip on second place when they welcome West Bromwich Albion to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon .

Lawmakers say Trump exploring rejoining Pacific trade talks
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross later said the Trump administration needs to see concrete actions from China to reach a deal. For instance, ranchers in Australia can send beef to Japan more cheaply than ranchers in the US.

"Go back Modi" Chennai screams as people protest with black flags
The Prime Minister will then visit the Cancer Research Institute in Adyar where he will inaugurate its Diamond Jubilee building. Film personalities, such as Bharathiraja, Ameer and Gowtham, joined protesters holding black flags.

US President in slanging match with former Federal Bureau of Investigation director
Democrats, who had been critical of Comey's handling of the Clinton investigation, defended him against Trump's attacks. In January 2017, United States intelligence chiefs briefed Mr Trump and his advisers on Russia's election meddling.

Guardiola: 'Man Utd can still win the Premier League'
But while City are still overwhelming favourites to be crowned champions, Guardiola admits there could be further slip-ups. When I heard pundits and fans in November they said it's all done, it's impossible for City to drop points.