The EPA broke the law by installing a $43,000 soundproof phone booth for agency head Scott Pruitt. It's just the latest in Pruitt's series of flagrant wastes of taxpayer money on extravagant purchases, including luxury travel. No other EPA leader has required a soundproof booth, but Pruitt told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that “It’s necessary for me to be able to do my job.”
From The Washington Post:
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), one of several lawmakers who requested the GAO review, said in a statement Monday “there are few greater examples of government waste than a $43,000 phone booth. Now we know that the purchase wasn’t just unnecessary and wasteful, but actually illegal. The American people deserve so much better than the culture of corruption, cronyism, and incompetence that is pervasive in the Trump administration and the Pruitt EPA.”
New Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall (D), who called for the report along with McCollum, said in a statement that if Congress had been notified in advance it would have had a chance to block the project altogether. “He has been a disaster, and it’s past time for him to go,” Udall said.
Pruitt spent over $160,000 on dozens of first-class and charter flights during his first year as the head of the EPA. He said it was necessary, according to Associated Press correspondent David Eggert, because he's had “unpleasant interactions with other travelers.”
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Environmental Protection Agency has broken months of silence about his frequent premium-class flights at taxpayer expense, saying he needs to fly first class because of unpleasant interactions with other travelers.