EPA violated law with soundproof booth, Zinke could have avoided charter flight, GOP chair probes Pruitt’s four email addresses

Any spending above $5,000 on furnishing or decorating an agency official’s office must be preceded by a notification to the Appropriations Committees in the House and the Senate, a step the EPA didn’t take.

…”Scott Pruitt likes to talk about returning the EPA to the rule of law, but it turns out he’s better at breaking it than following it,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, said in a statement Monday.

…The Interior’s Office of the Inspector General released a report Monday that found that Interior ethics officials who signed off on Zinke’s $12,375 charter flight after a meeting with the Las Vegas Golden Knights were not fully aware of the purpose of the meeting. The report found in its investigation that at least one ethics official who signed off on the charter plane last June for a flight between Las Vegas and Whitefish, Mont., believed the event was to speak with kids, not professional athletes. Additionally, ethics officials were not aware that the team was owned by a former campaign donor to Zinke’s congressional run in Montana.

“If ethics officials had known Zinke’s speech would have no nexus to the DOI, they likely would not have approved this as an official event, thus eliminating the need for a chartered flight. Moreover, had ethics officials been made aware that the Golden Knights’ owner had been a donor to Zinke’s congressional campaign, it might have prompted further review and discussion,” the IG office found.

…Barrasso was a leading voice in criticizing then-EPA head Lisa Jackson in 2013, when the agency admitted that she had an email account under the alias “Richard Windsor” that she used extensively for official business.

He and other Republicans accused Jackson of trying to hide her emails from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, while the EPA at the time said the Richard Windsor account was fully incorporated into FOIA searches.

Overnight Energy: Watchdogs unveil findings on EPA, Interior controversies | GAO says EPA violated law with soundproof booth | IG says Zinke could have avoided charter flight | GOP chair probes Pruitt’s four email addresses | TheHill

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