EPA Administrator Spends $25000 On Soundproof Booth

A representative from Acoustical Solutions said that the booth protects from eavesdroppers

Now Price has a new defense: he's not the only Trump official spending large sums of taxpayer money on non-commercial flights.

The agency signed a $24,570 contract earlier this summer with Acoustical Solutions, a Richmond, Va. -based company, for a "privacy booth for the administrator".

Pruitt flew from Cincinnati to New York's JFK airport on an Air Force plane on June 7, before boarding a commercial flight to Italy for Group of Seven environmental summit. That trip cost $36,069.

CBS News reported Wednesday that Pruitt and other EPA staff took a private flight July 27 from Tulsa to Guymon, Oklahoma, where Pruitt spoke to farmers about his plans to nix the Obama administration's Waters of the United States rule.

Price's flights have cost taxpayers more than $400,000, according to Politico. The EPA also did not immediately say how much it cost to fly Pruitt and his staffers from Durango to Denver and back on a private plane.

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When asked for justification for flying on a military jet instead of a likely cheaper commercial flight, an EPA spokesman told CNN in a statement: "Due to logistical obstacles and the need to schedule meetings with the Vatican before the G7 Summit, we needed to take this flight". A few days later, Pruitt spent about $2,000 to fly on a North Dakota state plane to attend an event at the University of North Dakota's Environmental Research Center, per CBS News.

But according to former agency employees, the EPA has long maintained a SCIF on a separate floor from the administrator's office, where officials with proper clearances can go to share information classified as secret. The contract for the booth, due for delivery by October 9, was first reported by The Washington Post.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency is spending almost $25,000 to provide Administrator Scott Pruitt something none of his predecessors have had - a custom soundproof booth for making private phone calls. The customized and expensive booth has drawn criticism from former EPA officials.

The EPA's inspector general announced last month that it was launching a probe of Pruitt's travels in Oklahoma following "congressional requests and a hotline complaint". According to travel documents viewed by the Washington Post, the White House approved the flight and the EPA explained that it used the military plane because no commercial flight would have gotten Pruitt to NY in time for his flight to Italy.

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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