Trump's trade rep spent nearly $4K on office desk

Trump's trade rep spent nearly $4K on office desk
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U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerTrump says no discussion of extending deadline in Chinese trade talks McConnell urges GOP senators to call Trump about tariffs Companies brace for trade war MORE spent nearly $4,000 by purchasing and returning a desk and then buying a replacement, according to emails reviewed by ABC News.

The emails, obtained by the watchdog group American Oversight, along with receipts, showed that Lighthizer's office replaced his original desk, returned the replacement and then bought a new desk. The desks and shipping cost nearly $4,000 in total, even though the Government Accountability Office (GAO) prohibits Cabinet secretaries from spending more than $5,000 on office redecorating without prior approval from Congress.

American Oversight, which was founded by officials from the Obama administration, said the emails were from a five-week period in June and July. Much of the correspondence about furniture was carried out using Lighthizer’s personal email.

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Lighthizer, who was appointed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall MORE and confirmed in May 2017, purchased a desk on July 11 for $2,700, according to the ABC News report. Expedited shipping for his desk cost another $575.

According to the emails obtained by ABC, Lighthizer grew unhappy with the desk and decided to replace it.

“The part where ones [sic] legs go under the center drawer is not finished and would ruin suit pants. Horrible,” Lighthizer wrote, according to ABC. The desk “is not functional. Drawers are too hard to open [and] close.”

He reportedly ordered a new desk, which cost $2,900 and arrived on July 27.

Lighthizer's office told The Hill that the entire cost of the desk that was returned was refunded. The office also said that Lighthizer himself covered the $575 expedited shipping cost on the returned desk with his own funds.

Lighthizer’s office also reportedly spent $858 on a seal and $830 on two paintings.

It isn’t clear if Congress was notified of these expenses, or if they put Lighthizer over the $5,000 limit.

The trade representative’s office did not respond to ABC News’s questions about whether they exceeded the federal limit.

Updated: 4:36 p.m.