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

17 April, 2018, 10:40 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Mayors EPA move to roll back vehicle emissions standards threatens Utahns’ health air quality improvements

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.

Airstrikes in Syria "appropriate reaction" - Turkey
The perpetrators of that heinous assault must be held accountable for their actions. "Turkey was informed ahead of the attack", he wrote on Twitter.

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.

Recommended:

  • Boston Celtics: 5 keys to series vs

    Boston Celtics: 5 keys to series vs

    The Boston Celtics are shooting 42.3 percent from beyond the arc and 88.9 percent from the free throw line. Milwaukee comes in as the heavy underdog, the No. 7 seed going against the second-seeded Celtics.
    Netanyahu Supports Attacks by US, UK , and France on Syrian Targeted Sites

    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".
    More than 500 injured in latest Gaza protests, Palestinian officials say

    More than 500 injured in latest Gaza protests, Palestinian officials say

    But Israel says the militant group Hamas , which dominates Gaza, is orchestrating the demonstrations in order to launch attacks. Some have said they intend to use mirrors and lasers to distract Israeli snipers, according to The Jerusalem Post .
  • Manchester United stars face axe as Jose Mourinho fumes

    Manchester United stars face axe as Jose Mourinho fumes

    Jose Mourinho has told his Manchester United players that Wembley places are up for grabs in Wednesday's match at Bournemouth . Jay Rodriguez's second-half victor meant City securing the league title with five games to spare.
    Milos Forman, Oscar-Winning Director of Amadeus, Dies at 86

    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".
    Lawmakers say Trump exploring rejoining Pacific trade talks

    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.
  • West hesitates on Syria response as Russian Federation  warns of 'war'

    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.
    Mike Pence urges Latin American allies to isolate Venezuela

    Mike Pence urges Latin American allies to isolate Venezuela

    The International Organization for Migration says almost one million Venezuelans have left the country over the past two years. President Donald Trump has partially rolled back former President Barack Obama's diplomatic opening with the communist island.
    IPL: Kohli praises bowlers for victory against KXIP

    IPL: Kohli praises bowlers for victory against KXIP

    IPL is very ruthless and your reputation doesn't count much and Yuvraj has to pull up his socks and play like a senior batsman. Umesh Yadav's three for 23 had helped RCB restrict Punjab to 155 but the pursuit of that target was far from straightforward.
  • Rahul Gandhi weighs in on Asifa case

    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.
    BJP banks on old guard in Karnataka, despite the cases against them

    BJP banks on old guard in Karnataka, despite the cases against them

    After not finding out his name on the list, MLA HP Rajesh rushed to Bengaluru to meet the Chief Minister. Karnataka is one of the few Indian states which is being ruled by the Congres.
    Starbucks apologizes for arrests of 2 black men in Philly store

    Starbucks apologizes for arrests of 2 black men in Philly store

    The original video that was shared on Twitter on Thursday evening has been liked almost 1 million times and has since gone viral. But one Twitter user edited the statement to include that the moment was "racial profiling" and "racially motivated harassment".


Popular

Australia blames Russian Federation over hacking of 400 companies in 2017
For owners, they're asked to ensure network devices are up-to-date, change default passwords, and ensure the firmware on the device is from a trusted source.

Sixers Lose To Heat As Joel Embiid Expresses Frustration
Still, the momentum was all with the Heat - Josh Richardson stepping up on both ends of the floor as his team kept their lead. Wade however had other ideas, grabbing a two-pointer before finding Johnson with a superb pass to make it 102-96.

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.

Philadelphia 76ers Robert Covington is team's enforcer
Embiid was a spectator in Game 1 of the first-round series because of a broken orbital bone around his left eye. Redick and Dario Saric (and their reasonably like-for-like replacements, Belinelli and Ilyasova).

Tornado Watch In Effect For Eastern Oklahoma
The incoming cold front marks the third instance of warmer weather followed by tumbling temperatures in the past three weeks. Acting early helps to save lives! A series of recent brush fires triggered the ban, officials said.

Harry and Meghan's photographer is Polish royalty
He has also published two photography books, donating the proceeds to Concern Worldwide, a charity he supports as an Ambassador, the Palace said.

Bitcoin Plus Achieves Market Capitalization of $4.15 Million (CRYPTO:XBC)
Investors can then use their newly-acquired Ethereum or Bitcoin to buy Bitcoin Planet using one of the exchanges listed above. The Reddit community for Bitcoin Plus is /r/bitcoin and the currency's Github account can be viewed here.

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 .

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.

Actor Will Ferrell Hospitalized After Late Night Crash On I-5 Highway
The SUV Ferrell was a passenger in was side swiped by another vehicle , causing it to flip over, according to witnesses. The Toyota hit the rear right side of the SUV, causing it lose control, hit the center divider and overturn.