Scott Pruitt dings taxpayers for a $25,000 cone of silence so he can keep his phone calls secret

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

It’s not enough that the paranoid EPA-hating chief of the EPA Scott Pruitt has diverted a dozen of the agency’s already understaffed investigative team to do round-the-clock bodyguard duty, even when he is in his office at headquarters. Now Brady Dennis at The Washington Post reports that Pruitt ordered an expensive customized acoustic booth to ensure his phone calls remain secret.

No doubt this updated “cone of silence” will make it easier to keep the contents of his lickspittle conversations with executives of the fossil fuel, mining, and automobile industries away from prying ears. Sources did not say whether the booth is big enough to allow both Pruitt and a bodyguard to occupy it at the same time: 

The agency signed a $24,570 contract earlier this summer with Acoustical Solutions, a Richmond-based company, for a “privacy booth for the administrator.” The company sells and installs an array of sound-dampening and privacy products, from ceiling baffles to full-scale enclosures like the one purchased by the EPA. The project’s scheduled completion date is Oct. 9, according to the contract.

Typically, such soundproof booths are used to conduct hearing tests. But the EPA sought a customized version — one that eventually would cost almost several times more than a typical model — that Pruitt can use to communicate without fear of being monitored. […]

No previous EPA administrators had such a setup.

In the past, the agency had a so-called Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) on a different floor where anyone with the proper clearance could go when sharing classified information. 

The cone of silence is just the latest of Pruitt’s efforts to keep whatever pollution-friendly shenanigans he’s up to out of the wrong hands.