Monday, April 16, 2018

EPA broke spending law on Pruitt phone booth: government watchdog

A government watchdog agency concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency violated federal laws in spending more than $43,000 to install a private phone booth in EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s office. The Government Accountability Office found that the EPA did not comply with the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act by failing to notify Congress before spending more than $5,000 on the phone booth. According to Section 710 of that law, any agency or department head or government employee appointed by the president must inform relevant members of Congress before spending more than $5,000 “to furnish, or redecorate … or to purchase furniture or make improvements” to an office. The EPA “was required to notify the appropriations committees of its proposed obligation,” the GAO wrote in the report. “By failing to provide such advance notice, EPA violated the provision. The agency also violated another law, the Antideficiency Act, by spending "in a manner specifically prohibited by law" the independent, non-political government agency that investigates spending of taxpayer money on behalf of Congress also concluded. The GAO’s report said that their finding only focused on whether the EPA notified Congress in advance, as it was required to do under the act, and not on whether the phone booth was the best way to provide a secure phone line for the administrator. “Because EPA did not comply with the notification requirement, the funds were not legally available at the time EPA incurred the obligation,” the GAO wrote in the report...MORE

No comments: