The GAO report says Pruitt violated the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, which prohibits an agency from paying more than $5,000 to redecorate or furnish a presidential appointee's office without congressional approval, The Washington Postreported.
The agency also found that the EPA violated the Antideficiency Act by spending more than the amount approved by Congress for office renovations.
The EPA did not immediately respond to request for comment; the organization had said that the phone booth should not be included as part of office decorations, a claim the GAO rebutted in its report. Thus, the booth was a practical addition to the administrator's office and did not violate the specific appropriations law provision since it was not "an aesthetic improvement" contemplated by that measure, according to the agency.
EPA spent about $25,000 on the privacy booth and an additional $18,000 on costs associated with modifying a storage closet connected to Pruitt's office to accommodate it.
"We draw no conclusions regarding whether the installation of the privacy booth was the only, or the best, way for EPA to provide a secure telephone line for the administrator", GAO said. The lawmaker cited "new information" his committee had obtained regarding Pruitt's official travel and his housing rental agreement previous year with the wife of an energy lobbyist. Also being sought is information about the lease for a bedroom in a Capitol Hill condominium that Pruitt rented previous year. In it, the lawmakers recounted alleged spending abuses by the EPA chief that Chmielewski had shared with them.
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) said in a statement that EPA must explain why it thought spending the money on the phone booth was legal. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees EPA. Later, he also met with Republican staffers on Gowdy's committee, resulting in Friday's letter from the chairman.
While the agency did turn over documents last month detailing almost $68,000 in previously undisclosed travel costs for Pruitt during the seven months leading up to February, Gowdy said EPA officials have failed to produce the security waivers that Pruitt used to justify his purchase of premium tickets at taxpayer expense.
The agency concluded that the EPA should report the violations, which would require a report to the President and Congress, according to federal law.
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On April 14, 2018 at approximately 1230 hours, Odessa Police responded to 12th and Alleghaney in reference to shots being fired. The officer said Oliver removed a lighter from his pocket when she approached him, and he provided a false name .
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