Pruitt's Sketchy Use of Taxpayer Money Now Includes Expensive Soundproof Booth

29 September, 2017, 00:40 | Author: Ora Austin
  • A representative from Acoustical Solutions said that the booth protects from eavesdroppers

The Sept. 24 news article "EPA chief met with executives, made decisions in their favor " lays out in troubling detail how Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has repeatedly granted private access to industry executives - and regulatory favors soon after.

Snider, who had previously facilitated SCIF contracts with federal agencies, said that the EPA's latest request was the first time that an agency commissioned a booth exclusively for the administrator's use.

Manufactured by Acoustical Solutions, the communications booth will be a full-scale enclosure that's normally used to conduct hearing tests, with some unspecified modifications that multiplied the cost.

On Aug. 4, Pruitt flew on another private jet from Denver to Durango, Colo., and back, because his commercial flight had been delayed by more than five hours, CNN reported, citing an EPA spokesman. "Their main goal was they wanted essentially a secure phone booth that couldn't be breached from a data point of view or from someone standing outside eavesdropping".

"When the administrator travels, he takes commercial flights", EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said Wednesday, explaining that the one charter flight and three government flights were due to particular circumstances. "It's called a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF)", said Bowman.

But according to former agency employees, the EPA has long maintained a SCIF on a separate floor from the administrator's office, where officials with proper clearances can go to share information classified as secret.

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"We are glad that the EPA Office of Inspector General is looking into this issue, to determine whether taxpayer funds were spent appropriately", said Sylvia Lam, an attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project.

An EPA spokesman told CBS News that technically, the EPA did not charter this flight, but instead asked the Department of Interior to book it for the EPA, making use of an inter-agency program.

Liz Purchia-Gannon, a former spokesperson for former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy of the Obama administration, blasted the expense of Pruitt's new SCIF.

"Pruitt also has shied away from using email at EPA, often preferring to deliver instructions verbally and hold face-to-face meetings". "The administrator, and any Cabinet secretary, is the face of that agency". Currently, he has 18 dedicated to his personal security detail.

Price was criticized by President Trump on Wednesday, who said "we'll see" when asked if - like Cabinet officials from previous administrations - he might lose his job over his lavish travels.

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