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Pruitt Illegally Installed $43K Phone Booth When EPA Already Had 2

Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, April 19, 2018

WASHINGTON – Before Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt illegally installed a private phone booth in his office to the tune of $43,000 from taxpayers, there were already two soundproof booths called Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities, or SCIFs, at the agency’s headquarters.

The existence of a second phone booth was reported after The Washington Post broke the story on Pruitt’s new booth in September.

But this week, the Government Accountability Office reported the existence of a third SCIF in its audit that found Pruitt and his EPA violated two federal statutes in purchasing the one for his office.

According to the GAO report, the two preexisting phone booths are located a few floors down from Pruitt’s office.

On page 7 of the GAO report, buried in a footnote, the investigator wrote:

In addition to the privacy booth in the Administrator’s office, there are two SCIFs in the EPA headquarters building …These are operated by EPA sub-organizations and are located three floors away from the Administrator’s office … The SCIF must be reserved to conduct an individual call.

Pruitt, apparently felt the elevator ride down to use the one of the two SCIFs already at EPA headquarters was a trip too far, and it would have forced him to come in contact with staff to reserve one. As as result, taxpayers spent just south of $50,000 to build one in a closet in Pruitt’s office.

“Among Trump’s cabinet of grifters, the competition over who can waste more taxpayer money is stiff, but Pruitt is in a league of his own,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “The Pentagon’s purchase of $640 toilet seats during the Reagan administration now seems like bargain shopping next to Mr. Pruitt’s graft.”  

Yesterday, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget told members of Congress the White House would open an investigation into Pruitt’s illegal use of taxpayer money to purchase and install the secure phone booth.

Fully 170 members of Congress, 131 representatives and 39 senators, have signed a resolution calling on Pruitt to resign as EPA administrator.

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Photo courtesy of AP Images

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