April 16, 2018 / 5:56 PM / a year ago

EPA must explain why Pruitt's $43,000 phone booth was legal: Republican senator

FILE PHOTO: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (EPA) Scott Pruitt testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the Senate environment committee said on Monday the Environmental Protection Agency must give a full public accounting of its approval of $43,000 for a private soundproof phone booth for agency chief Scott Pruitt.

“It is critical that EPA and all federal agencies comply with notification requirements to Congress before spending tax payer dollars,” Senator John Barrasso, a Republican, said in a statement. “EPA must give a full public accounting of this expenditure and explain why the agency thinks it was complying with the law.”

The EPA violated the law when it approved the phone booth last year for Pruitt’s office, the Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog, said earlier on Monday.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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