A government watchdog agency found that the Environmental Protection Agency spent over $43,000 on a soundproof phone booth for EPA Director Scott Pruitt — and broke the law by not reporting it to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, federal agencies must report all furniture, redecoration or other office expenditures above $5,000 to Congress’s Committees on Appropriations.


“Further, because EPA obligated appropriated funds in a manner specifically prohibited by law, we conclude that EPA violated the Antideficiency Act,” the GAO report states.

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EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman told USA Today that the agency would work with lawmakers to address the issue.

“EPA is addressing GAO’s concern, with regard to Congressional notification about this expense, and will be sending Congress the necessary information this week,” Bowman said.

This illegal action by the EPA is only one of several scandals clouding Pruitt’s time as the agency’s director. He has hired an opposition researcher to shape the media narrative around him, removed scientists from the EPA’s advisory boards without notice and hired a climate change denier and former coal lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler, as his right-hand man.

Pruitt also stayed in a condo whose owners are tied with the fossil fuel lobbying firm William and Jensen for less than $50 a night. The EPA later approved a pipeline extension request from one of the firm’s clients.

Though several officials have urged President Donald Trump to fire Pruitt, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said that the president approves of Pruitt’s work with the EPA thus far, “particularly on the deregulation front.”

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