House Oversight chairman requests details on Zinke’s $139K door
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) is requesting answers from the Interior Department on the hefty $139,000 price tag to replace the secretary’s office doors.
Gowdy on Thursday sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke requesting a briefing on his plans to replace the doors and documentation for the costs associated with the replacement.
“The committee is aware of numerous reports about the need for replacement doors at the Department and allegations of excess cost,” Gowdy wrote in the letter.
As part of his request, Gowdy asked the Interior Department to provide documentation on the acquisition process, estimates, invoices and related contracts related to the door.
The Interior Department signed a contract in September to pay $138,670 for the “Secretary’s door.” The door in question, according to the department, was a replacement balcony door that leaked when it rained.
Interior press secretary Heather Swift previously said that Zinke was not aware of the door upgrades and that the replacements were part of an order requested under the previous administration.
“The secretary was not aware of this contract but agrees that this is a lot of money for demo, install, materials, and labor,” Swift said in a statement.
“Between regulations that require historic preservation and outdated government procurement rules, the costs for everything from pencils to printing to doors is astronomical. This is a perfect example of why the secretary believes we need to reform procurement processes.”
Interior later said it was looking for alternative bids for the door.
Zinke said during a House budget hearing last week that he had successfully negotiated the price down to $75,000.
Last month Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson withdrew an order for dining room furniture that included a $31,000 table.
This is not the first time that the House oversight committee has gotten involved in alleged government waste.
In February the committee sent a letter to Environment Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt asking him to provide documents regarding his consistent use of first- and business-class travel on government-funded trips.
Pruitt was given two weeks to respond but missed the deadline. EPA has since said it has responded to Gowdy.
“The letter explains, EPA’s Protective Service Detail identified specific ongoing threats associated with Administrator Pruitt’s travel and shifted his class based on certain security protocols that require him to be near the front of the plane,” EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement Friday.
Gowdy has given Zinke until April 6 to respond to his request.
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