The EPA has reportedly signed a almost $25,000 contract for a soundproof booth for administrator Scott Pruitt.
Typically, such soundproof booths are used to conduct hearing tests.
On Aug. 4, Pruitt flew on a private jet from Denver to Durango, Colorado, and back, because his commercial flight had been delayed by more than five hours, CNN reported, citing an EPA spokesman. "Their main goal was they wanted essentially a secure phone booth that couldn't be breached from a data point of view or from someone standing outside eavesdropping". "As someone who spent a lot of time in the administrator's office, I can tell you that there was nothing like this", Liz Purchia, former head of communications at the EPA, told CNN. 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.
The governor's office confirmed to Denver7 Wednesday that Pruitt had declined Hickenlooper's invitation, but did not offer further comment.
"Federal agencies need to have one of these so that secured communications, not subject to hacking from the outside, can be held", Bowman said.
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When asked how many times Pruitt has flown private or government planes, an EPA spokesman said there was one round trip on a private jet and two trips on a government plane.
In all three cases, the EPA spokesperson said that the agency's ethics office approved of the flights.
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.
According to former EPA employees, the agency has long maintained a private room. It's been reported that the administrator, who prefers to interact with just the political appointees inside the agency, has banned note-taking during meetings and also recently requested funds for round-the-clock bodyguards. Currently, he has 18 dedicated to his personal security detail.
The agency's inspector general is also looking into special agents being pulled from their regular posts investigating environmental crimes to work as Pruitt's 24/7 security detail.
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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