December 12, 2017
By Brady Dennis –
The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general will investigate how it decided to spend more than $25,000 installing a secure, soundproof communications booth in the office of Administrator Scott Pruitt.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, requested the inquiry earlier this fall, asking the EPA watchdog to examine any potential waste, fraud or abuse related to the project. The small booth was purchased from the Richmond-based company Acoustical Solutions.
Typically, the type of soundproof booth like the one installed at the agency’s headquarters is used to conduct hearing tests. But the EPA sought out a far more expensive, customized version that Pruitt could use to communicate privately with top government officials. The agency appears to also have spent an additional $7,978 removing closed-circuit television equipment to make room for the booth in an area off Pruitt’s third-floor office, according to a government contracting database.