The head of the Environmental Protection Agency violated the law when installing a soundproof booth in his office, according to the top federal auditor.
Scott Pruitt ran afoul of a 2017 appropriations law and the Antideficiencies Act when creating the fixture, the Government Accountability Office said on Monday in a legal opinion.
According to the analysis, agency officials must notify Congress before “obligating or expending an amount in excess of $5,000″ on office improvements.” Pruitt gave no such heads-up before spending more than $43,000 on the “soundproof privacy booth.”
“EPA was required to notify the appropriations committees of its proposed obligation,” the legal opinion stated.
Though Congressional notification was the only subject of the brief, GAO also remarked that EPA already has two Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs)–installations through which classified information can be shared.
“These are operated by EPA sub-organizations and are located three floors away from the Administrator’s office,” the comptroller said in a footnote. “The SCIF must be reserved to conduct an individual call.”
Pruitt has drawn intense scrutiny in recent weeks for questionable ethical practices: a favorable condo rental arrangement with an energy lobbyist, lavish travel and accommodation spending based on questionable security concerns, and inquiries about the use of a private jet.
The EPA head has also been lambasted and ridiculed for reportedly having lived among his own filth while renting the condo, abusing his security detail to patronize a trendy Logan Circle restaurant, and giving raises to top staffers without the requisite permission.