Scott Pruitt took charter, military flights at $58000 cost to taxpayers

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The Environmental Protection Agency signed a $24,570 contract to build a soundproof cubicle for administrator Scott Pruitt's office, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Steve Snider, a salesman at Acoustical Solutions who handled the EPA contract, said privacy booths are typically used to conduct hearing tests and cost between $5,000 and $6,000.

Pruitt took a private jet on August 4 from Denver to Durango, Colorado, and back on the same day, EPA also confirmed, after the agency says his commercial flight was delayed.

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"They wanted a secure phone and computer room, essentially for sensitive information", Snider said. In a statement, EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said that all cabinet members required rooms that were impenetrable to outside hacking. Yet others have noted that the office never had a secure booth previously as the EPA contains a secure facility on a separate floor, and have called attention to the secretive measures taken by Pruitt and his deputies. But it seems Pruitt has the HHS secretary beat when it comes to odd office accessories.

An EPA spokeswoman said the EPA's SCIF needed to be updated, so they opted for this more advanced option from Acoustical Solutions. On Sept. 16, it was disclosed that the EPA administrator had used taxpayer dollars to charter a private plane for a flight between two cities in Colorado on August 4, CBS News reports.

The EPA funds pay the salaries of 115 full-time DOJ employees in the environmental enforcement division.

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Liz Purchia, the former head of communications at EPA, told CNN the expenditure is "the height of paranoia".

Pruitt, who backed President Trump's plan to slash the EPA's budget by 31%, has a few other amusing items on his list of expenditures.

"Pruitt also has shied away from using email at EPA, often preferring to deliver instructions verbally and hold face-to-face meetings". Only last week were details on months worth of meetings released after media outlets filed repeated Freedom of Information Act requests for that information; they showed he has met regularly with corporate executives from the automobile, mining and fossil fuel industries - in several instances shortly before making decisions favorable to those interest groups. Such 24/7 coverage has prompted officials to rotate in special agents from around the country who otherwise would be investigating environmental crimes.

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Price was criticized by President Trump on Wednesday, who said "we'll see" when asked if - like Cabinet officials from previous administrations - he might lose his job over his lavish travels.

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