Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

EPA must explain why Pruitt's $43000 phone booth was legal: Republican senator

EPA must explain why Pruitt's $43000 phone booth was legal: Republican senator

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Protective Service Detail has identified specific, ongoing threats associated with the Administrator's air travel and, therefore, shifted his class based on certain security protocols that require him to be near the front of the plane", the letter said.

The privacy booth cost $24,570, including delivery and assembly, according to the GAO. Beyond that, the agency spent another almost $20,000 on concrete floor leveling, ceiling installation, painting and removal of closed-circuit television equipment to accommodate its installation. They just looked narrowly at whether he needed congressional sign-off, which they said he did.

"The GAO letter "recognized the...need for employees to have access to a secure telephone line" when handling sensitive information", she said.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said the agency is "addressing GAO's concern, with regard to congressional notification about this expense, and will be sending Congress the necessary information this week". Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Because EPA used federal money in a manner specifically prohibited by law, Armstrong said the agency also violated the Antideficiency Act, and is legally obligated to report that violation to Congress.

The privacy booth, which Pruitt had told lawmakers in a hearing was needed to conduct agency business, was built in a spot of a former storage closet in administrator's office.

"There are secure conversations that need to be take place at times", he told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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.

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