Key Dem: EPA chief should be 'held accountable' for soundproof booth expense

Key Dem: EPA chief should be 'held accountable' for soundproof booth expense
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee is calling for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA bans use of pesticide linked to developmental problems in children Science matters: Thankfully, EPA leadership once again agrees Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE to testify over the installation of his $43,000 soundproof booth.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats ramp up probe of FDA approval of Alzheimer's drug Intercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 MORE (D-N.J.) tweeted Wednesday, "While I’m glad GAO is investigating, it’s long past time for Congressional Republicans to hold Administrator Pruitt accountable for his abuse of taxpayer funds. It’s time for Pruitt to explain himself before our committee."

The lawmaker weighed in on news that Pruitt's previously reported request for a soundproof booth would be costing taxpayers tens of thousands dollars more than previously estimated.

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The Washington Post reported that Pruitt's in-office sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF) will likely cost $43,000 total to install, a stark increase from the $25,000 it initially reported back in September.

No previous EPA administrators have had such a setup.

The total amount would be an accumulation of costs associated with the SCIF as well as construction costs that include removing television surveillance equipment and installing a drop ceiling, the Post reported.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in January that it is looking into the expense.

Pallone previously joined other Democratic lawmakers who sent a letter in December to the EPA's Office of Inspector General asking them to review "why such equipment is needed and what types of conversations Administrator Pruitt is having that would warrant a private soundproof booth."