White House looking into Pruitt’s spending, Mulvaney says

The White House will look into oversight reports on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on Wednesday.

“We’re aware of the GAO report at HUD, we’re aware of the, you didn’t ask the question, we’re aware of the similar GAO report at EPA and we will investigate them,” Mulvaney told the House Appropriations Committee. “We take the anti-deficiency statute very, very seriously.”

On Monday, CNN reported that the Government Accountability Office concluded Pruitt violated federal law when his office purchased a $43,000 soundproof booth.

The GAO, a government spending watchdog that reports to Congress, cited a requirement that executive branch agencies must notify Congress before spending more than $5,000 on certain office improvements.

“Because EPA violated this statutory requirement, we also conclude that EPA violated the Antideficiency Act and should report its violation to the Congress and the President as required by law,” GAO said at the time in a statement by one of its attorneys, Julie Matta.

Mulvaney also noted at the hearing that he didn’t think anyone has “ever been charged criminally with a violation deficiency statute,” but said, “we would talk to the lawyers and figure out what the appropriate statutory steps are that we are supposed to take.”

Pruitt and Carson are two of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet members who have found themselves in the middle of controversies surrounding their spending and ethics.

Carson was in the hot seat earlier this year after reports surfaced the agency had purchased a $31,000 dining set in 2017 for his office. Carson ultimately canceled the order.